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Mortgage rates drop again

WASHINGTON - Rates on 30-year mortgages fell for the third straight week, dropping to the lowest level in five months.

Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 6.24 percent this week, down from 6.26 percent last week.

It was the third straight weekly decline after rates hit 6.40 percent. Analysts attributed the decreases to mounting evidence the economy is starting to slow.

'Reports of weaker consumer spending in September and a decline in manufacturing activity in October kept mortgages at bay this week,' said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac.