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LendingTree: Mortgage rates fall

Mortgage rates fell this week from last week, Charlotte-based LendingTree said today.

As of Tuesday, average home loan rates offered by LendingTree network lenders were 4.67 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, 3.88 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages and 3.31 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

On the same day, the lowest mortgage rates offered by lenders on the company’s network were 4.375 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, 3.375 percent for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage and 2.75 percent for a 5/1 ARM.

“Rates are continuing their free  fall, spurring refinancing activity,” said Cameron Findlay, chief economist for LendingTree.com. “Home purchase activity, however, hasn’t seen the same spike, and homeownership is currently down to 1998 levels.

“Yet if we do a cost comparison from 1998 to today, we see the impact low mortgage rates have on home affordability.”

For example, in 1998, the average rate for a 30-year mortgage was 6.94 percent, compared with 4.71 percent today, he said. In 1998, for a $250,000 loan, a homebuyer’s monthly payment would have been $1,654, compared with $1,298 today, he added, a savings of $356 a month “and a significant boost to what today’s buyers can afford.”

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