WASHINGTON (AP) – Mortgage rates fell this week, good news for people thinking about buying a home.

For the week ending Nov. 21, the average rate on 30-year mortgages was 5.83 percent, down from 6.03 percent the previous week, the mortgage company Freddie Mac, reported Thursday in its weekly nationwide survey.

In mid-June, rates on 30-year mortgages slid to 5.21 percent, the lowest in more than four decades. Since then, rates on these benchmark mortgages have bounced up and down.

For 15-year mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, rates dropped to 5.17 percent, from 5.39 percent last week. Rates for one-year adjustable mortgages averaged 3.72 percent, compared with last week’s 3.76 percent.

Home sales are expected to set a record high this year.

, economists say.

Meanwhile, the government reported on Wednesday that residential construction sizzled in October at the highest level of activity in 17 years. Low mortgage rates have powered the housing market, an important contributor to the economy’s growth.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of America said that an index of home-mortgage applications rose by 5.9 percent last week from the previous week.

The nationwide averages for mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Thirty-year mortgages carried an average fee of 0.6 point this week. Fifteen-year and one-year adjustable rate mortgages each carried an average fee of 0.7 point.

A year ago, rates on 30-year mortgages averaged 6.03 percent, 15-year mortgages were 5.44 percent and one-year adjustable mortgages stood at 4.14 percent.

On the Net:

Freddie Mac: http://www.freddiemac.com

AP-ES-11-20-03 1641EST

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