Interest rates on U.S. 30- and 15-year mortgages fell this week for the first time in four weeks, Freddie Mac said on Thursday.

U.S. 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 6.84 percent in the Dec. 7 week, down from 7.02 percent last week, while 15-year mortgages stood at an average 6.30 percent compared to 6.53 percent, it said. The rates last fell in the Nov. 9 week.

One-year adjustable rate mortgages stood at an average 5.21 percent, a slight change from 5.22 percent last week.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 7.54 percent, 15-year mortgages 7.19 percent and ARMs 7.21 percent.

``Mortgage rates eased back this week, correcting the market overreaction to mixed economic indicators, which caused last week's big jump in rates,'' Robert Van Order, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement.

``Financial markets remain quite volatile at present and this volatility will continue to influence mortgage rates through the end of the year,'' he added.

``The good news is that consumer spending was encouraging in October, suggesting people may be more confident that the economy will recover sooner rather than later. Coupled with low mortgage rates, this could indicate the housing industry will continue to be strong and stable in 2002,'' Van Order said.

On Monday the Commerce Department said U.S. October personal spending rose a record 2.9 percent.

Freddie Mac said lenders charged an average 0.7 percent in fees and points on 30-year mortgages and 0.8 percent on ARMs, both unchanged from the previous week. They charged 0.8 percent on 15-year mortgages, up from 0.7 percent last week.

Freddie Mac is a corporation chartered by Congress that buys mortgages from lenders and packages them into securities for investors.