Mortgage rates declined for the third straight week and are within five basis points of the spring record low of 4.78% on 30-year fixed rates. Meanwhile, 15-year fixed rates set a new record low this week.

Freddie Mac reported an eight basis point decline in 30-year fixed mortgage rates to 4.83%, with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Nov. 19. The 15-year rates slipped four basis points to 4.32%.

Adjustable rates also fell with 5/1 hybrid ARMs averaging 4.25% compared with 4.29% last week, while one-year ARMs plunged 11 basis points to 4.35%.

While mortgage rates were lower in the week ending Nov. 13 as well, falling to 4.91% from 4.98%, mortgage application activity was not so responsive with both refinancing and purchase activity declining.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Refinance Index slipped 1.4% to 2955 and the Purchase Index dropped 4.7% to 211.

Still, with rates even closer to record lows, along with the extension and expansion of the homebuyers tax credit, activity is expected to experience a rebound this week.

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