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Fixed mortgage interest rates down again

Interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages declined for the fifth week in a row, hitting a new year-to-date low, Freddie Mac reports.

The increasingly tempting rates and greater refinancing activity have helped boost conventional mortgage applications for the past five consecutive weeks ending May 13. Online lending marketplace LendingTree reports that borrowers on its network who refinance have been scooping up an average of $301 a month in savings, thanks to the declining rates.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate home loan was 4.61 percent Wednesday, down from 4.63 percent last week, Freddie Mac reports. A year ago, the rate was 4.84 percent. For a 15-year loan, the average declined from 3.82 percent last week to 3.8 percent – it was 4.24 percent at this time in 2010.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) averaged 3.48 percent this week, up from last week when it averaged 3.41 percent. A year ago, the five-year ARM averaged 3.91 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.15 percent this week with an average 0.6 point -- an increase from last week when the average was 3.11 percent. At this time last year, the one-year ARM averaged 4 percent.

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