Courtesy: CNNMoney.com

Mortgage rates fell for the sixth week in a row, to nearly the lowest level of the year, as a slowing housing market helped keep rates down, a survey said Thursday.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 6.11 percent in the week ended Dec. 7 from 6.14 percent in the prior week, according to Freddie Mac's (Charts) Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

It was the lowest the 30-year has been since the week of Jan. 19, when it averaged 6.10 percent. A year ago, the 30-year averaged 6.32 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.84 percent, down from 5.87 percent last week. A year ago, it averaged 5.87 percent. This is the lowest the 15-year FRM has been since the week ending Feb. 9, when it averaged 5.83 percent

Rates for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) came in at 5.92 percent this week, down from 5.95 percent last week. A year ago, the five-year ARM averaged 5.78 percent. It was the lowest since February, when it averaged 5.89 percent.

One-year ARMs averaged 5.43 percent, down from 5.46 percent last week. A year ago, the one-year ARM averaged 5.16 percent. This is the lowest it has been since March, when it averaged 5.41 percent

"Continued signs of slowing in the housing market and weakness in the manufacturing sector helped keep mortgage rates down this week," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

"Looking forward in the housing market, we think that housing is about 2/3 of the way through the correction, and should stabilize by mid-year 2007," Nothaft said.

With a slowdown in the housing market near a bottom, homebuilders such as Toll Brothers (down $1.10 to $31.91, Charts), Pulte Homes (down $0.86 to $33.94, Charts), Lennar (down $0.77 to $53.40, Charts), KB Home (down $1.26 to $52.23, Charts), and D.R. Horton (down $0.41 to $27.12, Charts) have all seen their profits fall sharply, with many lowering their forecasts.