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Has Ben Bernanke Saved the Mortgage Market?

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Freddie Mac released its weekly update on national mortgage rates Thursday morning, and once again, it appears that the Federal Reserve has saved the day (for homebuyers).

Following a sharp spike last week on worries that the Federal Reserve was planning to reduce future bond purchases, a release of "minutes" from Fed committee meetings that took place on June 18 and 19 suggested bond purchases will, in fact, continue. That sent mortgage rates right back down again.

Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) dropped 14 basis points to land at 4.37% this morning. Fifteen-year FRMs shed 12 basis points, falling to 3.41%.

Among variable-rate mortgages, 5/1 ARMs gave up nine basis points, declining to 3.17%. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages held steady at 2.66% -- now in their fourth straight week at this rate.

Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft credited Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke with the easing of rates, noting: "During a question and answer session following a speech on July 10th, Chairman Bernanke indicated that a highly accommodative monetary policy is what's needed in the U.S. economy."

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