Industry NewsMortgage

Mortgage apps up as rates stay low

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Applications for mortgages jumped 11.3 percent during the week ending March 6 as rates continued to hover near historic lows, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today.While applications from homeowners looking to refinance led the surge -- rising a seasonally adjusted 13.3 percent from the week before -- applications for purchase mortgages were also up 7.1 percent. Applications for conventional loans were up 5.4 percent, while applications for government-backed purchase loans, largely FHA, were up 10.4 percent.The refinance share of mortgage applications increased to 67.9 percent, up from 66.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity was unchanged at 2.3 percent of total applications.Although mortgage rates have been on the rise this week, last week the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.96 percent from 5.14 percent, with points increasing to 1.16 from 1.05 (including the origination fee) for 80 perce...