Mortgage rates down, but can you get one?

Fed action spurs boom in refi applications

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Mortgage rates have plunged since the Federal Reserve said it would spend $600 billion to buy mortgage-backed securities and debt issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, but tightened underwriting standards mean many people won’t be able to take advantage of them.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said applications for refinance loans shot up 203 percent on an adjusted basis for the holiday-shortened week ending Nov. 28. Applications for purchase loans were up a more modest 38 percent.