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Study: Purchase Applications Outpacing Refinances in Six States

While last year's mortgage market was largely dominated by refinance loans, a new report from ""MortgageMarvel.com"":http://www.mortgagemarvel.com/ says the stage is already set in some areas for purchase loans to take point.

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The report's findings come from a review of online loan applications submitted to lenders who use ""D+H Mortgagebot's"":https://www.mortgagebot.com/ online mortgage origination platform. D+H Mortgagebot owns and operates Mortgage Marvel.

According to the study, 55 percent of online mortgage applications were used to refinance existing mortgages in 2012, illustrating once again the effects of last year's historically low mortgage rates and the attractiveness of the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) to borrowers.

However, six states told a different story as the year unfolded: Georgia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, and Alabama.

For example, in January 2012, Mortgage Marvel noted 40 percent of online mortgage applications for properties in Georgia were for home purchases. However, that share had grown to 57 percent as of January 2013.

The trend is similar in the other five states, with purchase share gaining at least 10 percentage points and approaching or surpassing 50 percent in each area.

""Job growth has been encouraging in these states, and people are starting to feel more optimistic about the economy,"" said Mortgage Marvel COO Rick Allen. ""With the improvements in the housing market, it could well be that people want to buy homes while they sense that prices are still within their reach and mortgage rates are low.""

According to Mortgage Marvel's metrics, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.985 percent nationwide in January 2012; that rate fell to 3.539 percent by the next year. With rates expected to rise at least somewhat this year, Allen says buyers will want to act soon.

""Housing is a major driver of the economy,"" he said. ""Refinancing can create revenue in financial markets, but some home purchases can generate all sorts of economic activity, from construction to remodeling to furniture purchases. Because of this, the shift of mortgage applications in Georgia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Alabama toward home buying is a positive sign for the economy.""

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