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Low Mortgage Rates a Gift for Everyone

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RALEIGH — One of the nicest gifts of the holidayseason is the drop in mortgage interest rates. Prospective home owners and those wishing to refinance are finding that the new year will ring inwith some of the lowest home mortgage rates in years.

Nationally, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped to 6.99percent this week.

The rates are just as low here in the Triangle, so if people thinkingof buying a new home in '98 would be wise to hustle up theirdecision-making.

The Lipson family did just that, spending less time in the mallsthis holiday season and more time choosing a house. As soon as they wereable to lock in the mortgage at the fixed rate they sought, they signed onthe dotted line.

They couldn't have picked a better time.This holiday season, mortgage rates are the lowest they'vebeen in three or four years here in the Triangle. The rates are 7 percent for a 30-year loan and about 6 percent for a 15-year.

Most observers feel that anytime rates are this low, in single digits,it's an excellent opportunity to buy that home, either a first home or tomove up.

Traditionally during the holidays, not many people are in the market fora house.

But agent Shields Pittman says the people who are looking are far moreseriousabout their intentions.

But while rates are low right now, they could start to move up atany time. So people who are interested are encouraged to take advantage ofthe opportunity as soon as they can.

Lipson thinks she and her husband were wise to deal with housebuying now, even though it was slap in the middle of the holidays. "Wesaid, "Let's just do it."

The Lipson family said they considered waiting for even lower mortgagerates, but decided to act now just in case the rates started to inch backup again.

Reporter:Wisdom Martin

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