Mortgage rates dip for second straight week

WASHINGTON - Mortgage rates around the country dipped for the second week in a row, a dose of encouraging news for people thinking about buying a home.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac, in its weekly survey released Thursday, said that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dropped to a nationwide average of 6.63 percent for the week ending Aug. 2. That was down from last week's rate of 6.72 percent and was the lowest since mid-June.

Economists viewed the back-to-back dips as a nice reprieve from rates that have slowly moved upward this year.

''Although lower rates are a welcome sight, we still feel that the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rate will drift up and down somewhat over the next few months, but will average less than 7 percent for

the year,'' said Frank

Nothaft, Freddie Mac's

chief economist.

Two weeks ago, rates on 30-year mortgages climbed to 6.80 percent, the highest in more than four years. Home sales, which set record highs for five years running, have slowed this year as higher mortgage rates and still-solid home prices have made it too expensive for some people to buy.

Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, averaged 6.27 percent this week, down 6.34 percent last week.

For one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, rates declined to 5.69 percent, compared with 5.78 percent last week. Rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 6.27 percent this week, from 6.35 percent last week.

The mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The 30-year and 15-year mortgages each carried a nationwide average fee of 0.3 point. One-year ARMs carried an average fee of 0.7 point, and five-year adjustables had a fee of 0.4 point.