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Average US 30-year mortgage rate down to 4.22 pct.

WASHINGTON — Average US rates on fixed mortgages fell for the third straight week to their lowest point in three months, as a decline in consumer confidence and the onset of the government shutdown forced rates down.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 4.22 percent from 4.32 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan declined to 3.29 percent from 3.37 percent.

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Both are the lowest averages since early July. Rates began to fall last month after the Federal Reserve held off slowing its $85-billion-a-month in bond buys, which have kept rates low. They fell further this week as the shutdown spurred investors to sell stocks and buy Treasury bonds.

The 10-year note traded at 2.63 percent Thursday morning, down from 2.71 percent on Sept. 23. The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.63 percent and the fee held at 0.4 point.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage dipped to 3.03 percent from 3.07 percent. The fee rose to 0.6 point from 0.5 point.

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