The Wall Street Journal 

Mortgage rates moved lower this week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.47% nationally in the week ended Thursday, down from 6.52% last week. The mortgage also averaged 6.52% a year ago. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6% this week, down from 6.07% last week. The mortgage averaged 6.18% a year ago.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.99%, down from last week’s 6.02%. The ARM averaged 6.34% a year ago. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.29%, up from 5.18% last week. The ARM averaged 5.60% a year ago.

“Even with the current historically affordable mortgage rates, news continues to show signs of weakening in the housing sector,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. “Housing starts fell to 0.965 million units [annualized] in July, the slowest pace since March 1991. As a result, home-builder confidence remained at an all-time record low in August since the series began in January 1985.”

Housing starts and building permits also tumbled in the latest data.

Next week, house-price indexes from S&P/Case-Shiller, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight and Freddie Mac will be released, which may provide signs “of whether home prices may be slowing their descent as recent monthly indices have shown or whether the observed deceleration was temporary,” he said.

Mortgage-application volume was down 1.5% last week, according to a separate report from the Mortgage Bankers Association.