RATES EASE SLIGHTLY: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages eased slightly this week, remaining near historically low levels.
THE NUMBERS: Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average on the 30-year loan declined to 4.42 percent from 4.46 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan dipped to 3.43 percent from 3.47 percent.
OUTLOOK: Mortgage rates peaked at 4.6 percent in August and have stabilized since September, when the Federal Reserve surprised markets by taking no action on starting to reduce its bond purchases. The Fed meets next week and could slow the bond purchases if the economy shows further improvement.