Mortgage rates remained near record low levels Wednesday as consumer inflation came in close to expectations. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) declined -0.1% and was 2.2% higher than one year ago. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy components, rose at a tame 0.9% annual rate. The Mortgage Bankers Association weekly purchase activity index fell 27%, to the lowest level since 1997, reflecting the recent expiration of homebuyer tax incentives. Stocks fell sharply. Minutes from last month’s Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will be released at 2:00 PM.