Applications for refinance loans jumped 41.5 percent last week, after the Federal Reserve announced expanded purchases of mortgage-backed securities that pushed interest rates to lows not seen in six decades, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today.

Applications for purchase mortgages for the week ending March 20 were up a more modest 4.2 percent, the MBA said, with requests for refinance loans accounting for 78.5 percent of all mortgage applications.

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