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.

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-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 4.41 percent, with points decreasing to 1.05 from 1.12 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.

The average contract interest rate for one-year adjustable-rate mortgages decreased to 6.52 percent from 6.61 percent, with points increasing to 0.28 from 0.2 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 63.8 percent of total applications from 61 percent the previous week. The ARM share of activity increased to 6.7 percent from 6 percent of total applications from the previous week.

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