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Low rates spur refi applications

Demand for FHA purchase loans at record high

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Applications for refinancings jumped 17.4 percent last week as interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dipped below 5 percent for the first time since May, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in releasing the results of its Weekly Applications Survey.Applications for purchase loans were also up 5.6 percent from a week earlier, helping push an index measuring all applications up by a seasonally adjusted 12.8 percent for the week ending Sept. 18, the MBA said.An index measuring applications for FHA and other government-backed purchase loans was at the highest level ever recorded in the survey, and the share of purchase applications that were government-insured was 45.7 percent, the highest since November 1990.The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.97 percent from 5.08 percent, with points increasing to 1.12 from 0.98 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans.The average contract interest rate for 15...