It's getting easier and easier to find mortgage rates online no matter where you live. You can easily compare rates in your state with others to see if you're getting a bargain, and you can find rates from nationwide lenders or a local company.

But some sites are much better than others.For example, Countrywide Mort-gage, which bills itself as "America's leading independent home lender," will show you up-to-the minute rates in any state for almost all kinds of mortgages. And you can check out the rates without having to fill in pages and pages of financial history about yourself. The site is (www.countrywide.


By contrast, Norwest Mortgage, which bills itself as "the nation's leading retail mortgage lender," has no rates on its site at all. The best you can do is find out where a Norwest office is. The site is ( or (www.

One of the most comprehensive sites is run by HSH Mortgage, a New Jersey company that does continuous surveys of mortgage rates nationwide. You can get today's national average, or search a number of individual lenders, all listed at the site. But again, the quality differs greatly. Some lenders update their sites daily, others are weeks old, which makes them basically useless. The site is (

Shopping for mortgages online lets you compare not only rates but also other benefits and requirements. For instance, Countrywide has a Gold Credit program for refinancing that lets you save three-quarters of a discount point if you have excellent credit, put 20 percent down, have worked at the same job for 21/2 years, have lived in one house for three years and have no second mortgage. Your housing debt cannot exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income and total debt must not exceed 38 percent of monthly in-come.

And if you're willing to accept a prepayment penalty and qualify for the Gold Credit program, you can save 1.25 discount points.

On March 26, the Countrywide rate for a 30-year mortgage was 7 percent with 1.75 points. If you qualified for the Gold Credit program, you would have to pay only 1 point instead of 1.75 without a prepayment penalty or only 0.50 with the prepayment penalty.

A survey by A.C. Nielsen and Ryder TRS trucks found that Dallas-Fort Worth was the most popular place for move-ins last year and New York City was the No. 1 place for move-ons.

The next four most popular places for in-migration were Atlanta, Las Vegas, Knoxville and Boston. The next four cities for moving out were Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Savannah and Chicago.

Mortgage interest rates were mostly neutral the week of March 26, according to a survey by Freddie Mac. The national average for 30-year fixed rates was 7.08 percent, the same as last week; the 15-year average fell to 6.69 percent from 6.7 percent and the one year adjustable rose to 5.7 percent from 5.67 percent last week.