Home buyers are submitting more applications for loans, evidence that the housing market may be picking up steam. Countrywide Financial Corp. reported today that mortgage loan applications in December were up 11 percent from a year ago. That comes on the heels of a Mortgage Bankers Association survey this week that found a 16.6 percent jump in loan application volume for the week ending Jan. 5 compared to the week before. Countrywide's $41.7 billion in loan fundings for December were 7 percent less than a year ago, but up 9 percent from November. The $122 billion in loans funded during the fourth quarter made it Countrywide's best for the year, although that figure represents a 9 percent decline from 2005. Countrywide posted those numbers even as it made dramatic cuts in risky subp...
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