Buyers flock to FHA, government-backed loans

Conventional loan applications drop 50 percent

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Borrowers are flocking to government-insured loans, particularly those offered by the Federal Housing Administration, as they seek to refinance out of costly adjustable-rate mortgages or take out purchase loans with low down payments.

The Mortgage Bankers Association says application for government-insured loans was up 133.9 percent in July from a year ago, while applications for conventional loans like those purchased and guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fell 50.2 percent.