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BANKING AND FINANCE

<i> Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Mortgage Rates Decline: Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 8.38% this week, down from 8.62% last week, according to a national survey released by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. It was the lowest since Aug. 4, when the average also was 8.38%. The average hit a 25-year low of 6.74% in October, 1993. On one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 6.44%, down from 6.50% last week. Fifteen-year mortgages, a popular option for people refinancing mortgages, averaged 8.00% this week, down from 8.24% a week earlier. The rates do not include add-on fees known as points.


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