Mortgage rate trends over the past two years.

Washington Post staffer Kathy Orton reports that after two big jumps the past two weeks, fixed mortgage rates paused to catch their breath this week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

Amid expectations and debate over whether the Fed plans to start slowly raising the cost of borrowing as part of its mid-December meeting, mortgage rates have entered a limbo period. Orton writes:

The 30-year fixed-rate average slipped to 3.97 percent with an average 0.6 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.98 percent a week ago and 3.99 percent a year ago. Since the end of October, the 30-year fixed rate had jumped 22 basis points before falling this week. (A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.)

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