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RISMEDIA, Jan. 12, 2007-Mortgage rates were flat this week even as concerns about inflation began to percolate. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage remained at 6.24%. According to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey of large lenders, the 30-year fixed rate mortgages had an average of 0.23 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage popular for refinancing inched lower to 5.98%. On larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate was unchanged at 6.47%. Adjustable mortgage rates moved higher, with the average 5/1 ARM stepping higher to 6.17% and the average one-year ARM advancing to 5.97%.

Mortgage rates showed little movement despite a solid jobs report and strong inflation talk from a key member of the Fed. The monthly employment report was enough to stir inflation concerns with stronger-than-expected job growth and a notable pickup in worker compensation. It didn't take long to get proof that inflation remains on the Fed's radar screen as Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn noted in a speech that "it is still too early to relax our concerns" about the pace of price increases. The bond market greeted all of this with a shrug, with bond yields and mortgage rates showing little fluctuation during the week. Mortgage rates are closely related to the yields on long-term government bonds.

Fixed mortgage rates are sharply lower since the Fed stopped raising interest rates. Six months ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.87%. At the time, the monthly payment on a loan of $165,000 was $1,083.38. With the average 30-year fixed rate now 6.24%, the same loan originated today would carry a monthly payment of $1,014.86. Fixed mortgage rates are a compelling refinancing alternative for adjustable rate borrowers facing sharp payment adjustments.

SURVEY RESULTS:

30-year fixed: 6.24% — unchanged from last week (avg. points: 0.23)
15-year fixed: 5.98% — down from 5.99% last week (avg. points: 0.33)
5/1 ARM: 6.17% — up from 6.15% last week (avg. points: 0.37)

Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.

For more information, visit http://www.bankrate.com/mortgagerates.

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