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Mortgage rates hover near record lows

(MoneyWatch) Mortgage rates continue to hover near record lows, according to Freddie Mac data released Thursday. The news comes on the heels of October's employment report, which shows the economy added more jobs than predicted.

At this time last year, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) fell below four percent for the first time since Freddie Mac started its weekly survey in 1971. Fixed rates hit new record lows the first week in October, when a 30-year FRM averaged 3.36 percent and a 15-year FRM averaged 2.69 percent.

Mortgage rates for the week ending Nov. 8, 2012 are as follows:

  • 30-year FRM averaged 3.40 percent, up slightly from last week's average of 3.39 percent. One year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.99 percent.
  • 15-year FRM averaged 2.69 percent this week, down slightly from last week when it averaged 2.70 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.30 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.73 percent, down from last week when it averaged 2.74 percent. One year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.98 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.59 percent this week, up from last week's average of 2.58 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.95 percent.

"Mortgage rates remained near record lows following the employment report for October," Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, said in a press release. "The economy added 171,000 jobs, above the market consensus forecast, and the two prior months were revised up a combined 84,000."

If you're a buyer or a homeowner who wants -- and is able -- to refinance, these mortgage rates are great news. But they're also a sign that the housing market is still struggling, despite recent National Association of Realtors data showing a 3.2 percent increase in existing-home sales. And with the fiscal cliff on the horizon, the future of the housing market remains shaky.

A slow recovery is better than none at all, but homeowners across the country are still feeling the sting of low home values and long market times.