Mortgage application volume increased last week for the first time this month as borrowers jumped at the chance to refinance or purchase, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today.

The group’s market composite index, a measure of total home loan application volume, climbed 5.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before, boosted by a 6.4 percent jump in the index that tracks refinancings.

MBA reported that the purchase-loan index finally picked up, rising 4.8 percent last week from the end of October, following three straight weeks of declines.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 50.2 percent of total applications from 49.1 percent the previous week, according to MBA, and the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share increased from 14.2 percent to 15.5 percent.

Borrowing costs were mostly higher in the survey as the average contract interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages last week rose to 6.19 percent from 6.16 percent one week earlier; the average 15-year fixed held at 5.77 percent; and the average rate on one-year ARMs edged up from 5.94 percent to 5.98 percent.

Points, or loan-processing fees expressed as a percent of the total loan amount, averaged 1.16 on the 30-year loans, 1.13 on the 15-year, and 0.93 on one-year ARMs — compared with 1.08, 1.13 and 0.9, respectively, in the previous week. These points include the origination fee and are based on loan-to-value ratios of 80 percent.

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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