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U.S. Mortgage Applications Rise amid Lower Rates
Dec 8,2011 13:24CST
data analysis
U.S. mortgage applications rallied last week, including the Thanksgiving holiday, due to lower mortgage rates.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. mortgage applications rallied last week, including the Thanksgiving holiday, due to lower mortgage rates, after dropping sharply a week earlier, the latest survey showed Wednesday.

The weekly mortgage applications survey showed the Market Composite Index of U.S. mortgage applications, a measure of mortgage loan application volumes, increased 12.8 percent in the week ending on Dec. 2, on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted Refinance Index rose 15.3 percent from the previous week, while the Purchase Index climbed 8.3 percent, according to the survey conducted by the U.S. Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

However, the four-week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index, which irons out weekly fluctuations, edged down 3.2 percent from the previous week.

In addition, the association said the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages last week decreased to 3.98 percent from 4 percent, while that for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 3.53 percent from 3.58 percent.

"Coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday, applications increased significantly as mortgage rates dropped to their lowest levels in about two months," said Michael Fratantoni, the MBA's vice president of research and economics.

The U.S. government in October announced a series of changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program to make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgage loans, which was considered a move to stimulate mortgage refinance activities.

The survey, which has been conducted weekly since 1990, covered more than 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications. Respondents included mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrift institutions.

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