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Briefly ...

From Times wire and staff reports

* The House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday to help up to 40,000 low-income families get financial help in making down payments on their first homes. The bill must still be considered by the Senate.

* The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 5.77% last week, the lowest level since July, from 5.98% the week before, Freddie Mac said. Rates on 15-year mortgages fell to 5.10% from 5.30%.


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