Industry NewsMortgage

Low rates spur refi boom

Demand for purchase loans down 39% from last year

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Record-low mortgage rates have sparked another refinancing boom but aren't doing much to spur homebuyers into action, according to the results of the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.Demand for refinancings was up nearly 6 percent during the week ending Aug. 20 when compared to the previous week, and down 26 percent from four weeks ago, reaching the highest level since May 2009.Demand for purchase loans was essentially flat, rising 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week, and down 1.1 percent on an unadjusted basis. Looking back a year, demand for purchase loans was down nearly 39 percent.Requests for refinancings accounted for 82.4 percent of all mortgage loan applications -- the highest share observed since January 2009.The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.55 percent from 4.6 percent, with points decreasing to 0.89 from 0.92 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent l...