30-year fixed-rate mortgage: Averaged 5.0 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending February 17, 2011, down from last week when it averaged 5.05 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.93 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage: Averaged 4.27 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.29 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.33 percent.

Five-year indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages ARMs: Averaged 3.87 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.92 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.12 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs: Averaged 3.39 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.35 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.23 percent.

Freddie Sayz

Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac

Fixed mortgage rates eased slightly this week and continue to be very affordable. Prior to 2009, interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages had never been at 5 percent since our survey began in April 1971. In both 1981 and 1982, the rates were over three times as high as they are today.

The housing market is struggling to regain traction despite still historically low rates. New construction on one-family homes dipped slightly in January to an annualized pace of 413,000 units, which was the fewest number since May 2009. In addition, homebuilder confidence didnt improve for the third consecutive month in February.

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