Industry NewsMortgage

Purchase-loan demand at 13-year low

Applications to refinance surge as mortgage rates ease

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Applications for purchase mortgages during the week ending May 21 were down a seasonally adjusted 3.3 percent from one week earlier, to the lowest levels since April 1997, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today in releasing the results of its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.Applications for refinancings were up 17 percent, however, to the highest level since October, as borrowers sought to take advantage of falling interest rates.Mortgage rates have fallen as investors' fears about the European debt crisis make investments in bonds and mortgage-backed securities look more attractive."Refinance application volume jumped last week as continuing financial market turmoil related to the budget crises in Europe extended the opportunity for homeowners to lock in at historically low mortgage rates," said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, in a statement.Requests for refinancings accounted for 72.2 percent of total applications, up from 68.1 p...