Overall mortgage applications jumped 8.8 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before, as relatively flat interest rates sparked an uptick in refinancings and new purchases, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today.

The seasonally adjusted refinance index increased by 11 percent to 1,897.9 from 1,709.2 the previous week, and the purchase index increased by 7.1 percent to 402.2 from 375.6 one week earlier.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 46.3 percent of total applications from 45 percent the previous week, and the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 26.4 percent of total applications from 25.9 percent the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages remained at 6.24 percent, with points including the origination fee decreasing to 1.08 from 1.09 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

Points, which are fees charged by lenders for loan processing, are expressed as a percent of the total loan amount.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.96 percent from 5.94 percent. Points including the origination fee decreased to 0.97 from 1.03 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

The average contract interest rate for one-year ARMs decreased to 5.89 percent from 5.93 percent, with points including the origination fee decreasing to 0.8 from 0.84 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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