Industry News

Falling interest rates boost refis

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A considerable drop in interest rates last week sparked a rush to refinance but did little to drive home purchases, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today. While rates on long-term loans fell an average of 21 basis points from the second week of October, MBA's market composite index -- which measures overall mortgage application volume -- inched up only slightly during the period. Dragging the index was a 3.1 percent decline in the measure that tracks purchase loans, despite a 4 percent rise in the refinance index. Average interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped from 6.4 percent to 6.21 percent last week, while the average 15-year fixed fell from 6.09 percent to 5.86 percent and the rate on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) dipped to 6.1 percent from 6.17 percent. Points, which are loan-processing fees expressed as a percent of the total loan amount, averaged 1.13 on the 30-year loans, 1.06 on the 15-year, and 0.92 on one-year ARMs -- compared with 1.04...