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Mortgage rates flatten out, Freddie says: 30-year fixed at 4.41%

Mortgage rates flatten out, Freddie says: 30-year fixed at 4.41%
Mortgage rates leveled off early this week, Freddie Mac said, with the average for 30-year fixed home loans at 4.41% Above, a home goes up in Irvine, a magnet for Chinese home buyers. (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg)

Mortgage rates leveled off early this week, with the average for a 30-year fixed loan at 4.41%, a smidge above the 4.4% recorded a week earlier, Freddie Mac said.

Freddie's survey of what lenders are offering to solid borrowers, released Thursday, showed that the average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage rose from 3.42% to 3.47%.

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The survey's margin of sampling error is 5 basis points, or 0.05 of a percentage point, according to Freddie Mac spokesman Chad Wandler, which means that from a practical viewpoint this week's results were unchanged.

Start rates for variable loans also were slightly higher, according to Freddie's survey, which asks lenders about the terms they are offering to borrowers who pay less than 1% of the loan amount in upfront lender charges and discount points.

The recent rates for 30-year fixed loans, bumping around in the 4.25% to 4.5% range, are remarkable bargains by historical standards. For most of the 1970s, 30-year fixed rates began with a 7, 8 or 9. From the late 1970s through most of the 1980s they zoomed into double-digit territory.

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