Industry NewsMortgage

Demand for mortgages picks up

Refi gains outweigh slump in purchase applications

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Mortgage applications were up 5.3 percent for the week ending April 17, as increased demand for refinancings outweighed a decline in demand for purchase loans, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. Refinance applications were up 7.7 percent from the previous week, while applications for purchase loans fell a seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent, the MBA said in releasing the results of its Weekly Mortgage Application Survey. Applications for conventional purchase loans were down 4.6 percent, while applications for government-backed loans, largely FHA, fell 3.6 percent. Applications for refinancings accounted for 79.7 percent of total demand, up from 77.8 percent the previous week and 49.2 percent a year ago. Looking back a year, applications for both purchase and refinance loans were up 84 percent. Applications for refinance loans were up 186 percent from a year ago, while applications for purchase loans were down 29 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixe...