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Mortgage Application Volume Jumps 23.1%: MBA

Mortgage application volume shot up 23.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, largely on a refinancing surge that eclipsed averages year-over-year as investors frittered about Europe.

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The ""Mortgage Bankers Association"":http://www.mbaa.org/default.htm (MBA) reported the figures in its latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

The trade group's Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, climbed 38.1 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis from the week before.

Refinance share of activity accounted for the upward-bound figures, with total application volume rising to 82.2 percent, up from 80.8 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô far above a 7.7-percent increase from the same time last year and the highest by far since October 2010.

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The Refinance Index accordingly reflected a 26.4-percent increase from the week before to the highest level seen since August last year.

""Michael Fratantoni"":http://www.mbaa.org/files/SpeakersBureau/FrantantoniM.pdf, MBA's VP of research and economics, said in the statement that low interest rates drove higher volume, largely ""due to continuing anxieties regarding the fragile economic situation in Europe.""

Last week Standard & Poor's slashed credit ratings for nine eurozone nations, including heavyweights France, Italy, and Spain, among others. The credit-slashing follows ongoing worries that few investors will buy up sovereign debt at auctions from the debt-saddled nations.

""The Wall Street Journal"":http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120118-714317.html reported Wednesday that markets tilted upward as international financial institutions, including the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, offered to help banks ease their credit needs and restructure debt obligations for Greece, respectively.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, purchases rose 10.3 percent from the week before to hit the highest number in more than a month, even while these jumped 28.4 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis, 2.2 percent more than figures seen from the same week last year.

The four-week moving average leapt forward 5.99 percent, according to the MBA's Market Index. Adjustable-rate mortgages accounted for 5.6 percent in increases, up from 5.4 percent of total application volume, as a share of market activity.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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