Mortgage rates down a bit

•WASHINGTON - Mortgage rates edged down this week, good news for people looking to buy a slice of the American dream - their own home.

The mortgage company Freddie Mac, in its weekly survey, reported that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 6.22 percent for the week ending Thursday. That was down from last week's average rate of 6.26 percent and was the lowest since late October.

Home sales down; labor market stable

•WASHINGTON - A cooling housing market may put buyers in the driver's seat while an improving job market could give workers and jobseekers more leverage, economists say.

Either way, analysts read a pair of economic reports Thursday as indicating a soft landing for the high-flying housing sector and a smoother ride for the labor market.

Sales of previously owned homes fell for the second month in a row, declining a moderate 1.7 percent in November to an annual rate of 6.97 million units, the lowest since March, the National Association of Realtors reported.