Mortgage applications grew 7.5 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before, boosted by a surge in purchase loans, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today.

The purchase-loan index component rose 10.5 percent Aug. 22-29, followed by a 2.1 percent increase in the refinance index, according to MBA. The government purchase index comprised largely of FHA loans jumped 19.9 percent.

Despite the activity, both the refinance and adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) shares of loan applications fell last week, to 34 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.

According to MBA, the average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 6.39 percent last week, with borrowers paying 1 point on average to attain that rate. For 15-year fixed-rate loans, the average rate gained to 5.96 percent with 1.03 points, while the average rate for one-year ARMs decreased to 7.11 percent with 0.35 point.

Premiums and minimum down-payment requirements for Federal Housing Administration loan guarantees are going up on Oct. 1, and seller-funded down-payment assistance will no longer be accepted by FHA (see story).


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