Overall mortgage applications climbed 7 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before, with refinancings fueling the growth, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 4.8 percent to 414.6 from 395.6 the previous week, and the refinance index increased by 10.6 percent to 1,499.4 from 1,356 one week earlier.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 35.7 percent of total applications from 34.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate-mortgage share of activity increased to 30.7 percent of total applications from 29.4 percent the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.61 percent from 6.6 percent, with points including the origination fee decreasing to 1.13 from 1.19 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

Points, which are fees charged by lenders for loan processing, are equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.27 percent from 6.23 percent, and is now at the highest point since April 2002, MBA reported. Points including the origination fee decreased to 1.13 from 1.16 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.  

The average contract interest rate for one-year adjustable-rate mortgages increased to 6.09 percent from 6.05 percent, with points including the origination fee decreasing to 0.82 from 0.86 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

Washington, D.C.-based Mortgage Bankers Association is a national association representing the real estate finance industry. The survey covers approximately 50 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.

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