Overall mortgage application volume picked up last week, buoyed by steady growth in refinancings, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today.

The market composite index, a measure of home loan application volume, grew 1.5 percent last week, rising to 639.8 on a seasonally adjusted basis from 630.1 the week before.

Refinancings have been on the rise in each of the last three surveys, with the refi index gaining 4.5 percent last week from the week before, and their share of total applications remaining at 46.1 percent.

The index that tracks home purchase applications dipped again last week, falling 1 percent from the previous week.

Borrowing costs were mixed, with the average contract interest rate on 30-year fixed mortgages up to 6.24 percent, the rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans down to 5.94 percent, and the average one-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) rate slipping to 5.8 percent.

Points, which are loan-processing fees expressed as a percent of the total loan amount, averaged 1.06 on the 30-year loans, 1.13 on the 15-year, and 0.84 on one-year ARMs. Statistics are based on loan-to-value ratios of 80 percent.

The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity sank to 21.2 percent last week from 22.3 percent of total applications the previous week.

The Mortgage Bankers Association 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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