The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 5.98% for the week ending July 23 from 6.00% the previous week, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey.The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate dipped from 5.40% to 5.39%, while the average rate for one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs climbed from 4.02% to 4.12%. Fees and points averaged 0.6 of a point for all three mortgage categories. "Although Chairman Greenspan stated in his testimony before Congress recently that the economy may have hit a 'soft patch' in June, his outlook for the second half of the year was more upbeat than expected," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist. "Stronger growth in the economy will invariably translate into higher mortgage rates in the future, particularly for ARM products. But this should be offset by job growth and by rising incomes nationwide." A year ago, the average 30-year and 15-year fixed rates were 5.67% and 5.00%, respectively, and the average one-year ARM rate was 3.58%, Freddie Mac said. Freddie Mac can be found online at http://www.freddiemac.com.

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