Lower interest rates helped fuel a rush on mortgage applications last week, sending application volume up 15.6 percent from two weeks ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today.

According to the trade group, a 19.3 percent jump in the index that tracks refinance applications led the seasonally adjusted increase, followed by a 12.1 percent rise in the purchase loan index.

As a result, the refinance share of applications gained from 45.7 percent to 47.1 percent, and the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share increased from 5.9 percent to 6.8 percent.

The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 5.91 percent last week from 6.01 percent; the average rate on 15-year fixed loans declined to 5.49 percent from 5.53 percent; and the average one-year ARM rate decreased to 6.77 percent from 6.86 percent.

The points (loan fees expressed as a percent of the loan amount) that borrowers paid to attain these rates sank across all loan types. On 30-year loans, points slipped from 1.26 to 1.12; on 15-year loans they decreased from 1.24 to 1.07; and they fell from 1.4 to 1.35 on one-year ARMs.

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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