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Mortgage rates continue to hover near record lows

Dec 06, 2011 Walt Wojoiechowski

Rates on 40-year mortgages climbed this week, Freddie Mac reported Thursday, as consumers and homeowners continue to face trouble refinancing or purchase new property. The figure has hovered around record-lows for five straight weeks. The public lending firm reported the rate on 30-year home loans grew slightly to 4 percent, up from 3.98 percent the week before, while the average 15-year mortgage rate was unchanged at 3.3 percent. October's reading of 3.94 percent was the lowest figure in the 40 years that Freddie Mac has been tracking it. "As the European situation improves, presuming it continues to gradually improve, there will be a move away from U.S. Treasuries, and that will put upward pressure on mortgage rates," George Mokrzan, director of economics at Huntington National Bank, told Bloomberg. "But it's up from extremely low levels. Even if it gets up to 5 percent, that's extremely low by historic standards." Home values have been falling since before markets collapsed in 2008, as tight lending standards, high unemployment and an overabundance of distressed properties continue to plague the housing sector.