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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Mortgage Rates Fall to 5.1 Percent on 30-Yr Fixed

For the third week running, mortgage rates have hit new lows.

Freddie Mac reported that average rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans this week fell to 5.1 percent. That's down from 5.14 percent the previous week, and the lowest since the mortgage giant began tracking in 1971. It's actually the lowest rate in longer than that--rates through most of the 1960s and 1970s were generally 6 percent or more.

It's the ninth week in a row that rates have fallen, in response the turmoil throughout the economy. The result has been a flood of refinancing applications as homeowners have tried to cut costs

At 5.1 percent, the monthly principal and interest payment on a $200,000 mortgage would be $1,086. A year ago, when rates averaged 6.07 percent, it would have been $1,208.

Fifteen-year rates averaged 4.83 percent, down from 4.91 percent the previous week. Quotes for both 30-year and 15-year rates include 0.7 points, the upfront fee for a mortgage. One point is equal to 1 percent of the mortgage.

--Maryann Haggerty

By Sara Goo  |  December 31, 2008; 10:51 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  
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