Purchase-loan demand picking up

Applications at highest level since May

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Demand for purchase mortgages picked up last week to the highest level seen since the end of May, but remained nearly 40 percent below the same time last year, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in releasing the results of its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

Requests to refinance accounted for 81.9 percent of mortgage applications during the week ending Sept. 3 — an indication that record-low interest rates are motivating existing homeowners to lock in a better rate, but aren’t getting would-be homebuyers off the fence.