Mortgages dangle on debt doubts ........Debt Ceiling

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Mortgage rates barely changed this week as investors grew increasingly anxious about the looming threat of a U.S. debt default.


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The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 1 basis point this week, to 4.68 percent, according to the national survey of large lenders. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point. The mortgages in this week's survey had an average total of 0.39 discount and origination points. One year ago, the mortgage index was 4.74 percent; four weeks ago, it was 4.66 percent.

The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged, at 3.82 percent. The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell 4 basis points, to 3.36 percent.

Debt ceiling

Many investors remain in wait-and-see mode as Congress tries to hatch a budget deal to shrink the deficit and raise the $14.29 trillion debt ceiling. But with 11 days left before the Aug. 2 deadline set by Treasury, they are becoming more nervous about the situation, says Kevin Breeland, general manager of Residential Mortgage of South Carolina in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

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