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Mortgage Applications Ride 9.2% Increase on Low Interest Rates

A rash of new concerns in debt-saddled Europe drove investors to U.S. Treasury debt, keeping mortgage rates at all-time lows and leading mortgage application volume to tick up 9.2 percent.

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The ""Mortgage Bankers Association"":http://www.mbaa.org/ (MBA) recorded an 8.7 percent increase in applications for the Market Composite Index on a seasonally unadjusted basis.

""A flare up of the sovereign debt troubles in Europe once again led investors to flee to the safety of [U.S.] Treasury securities last week. As a result, mortgage rates have reached new lows in our survey, and refinancing application volumes picked up substantially as a result,"" ""Michael Fratantoni"":http://www.mbaa.org/files/SpeakersBureau/FrantantoniM.pdf, MBA's VP of research and economics, said in a statement.

He said that survey participants signaled that interest in the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) waned relative to new volume, with refinance share falling to 28 percent of refinance applications, down from last month.

The Refinance Index ticked up by 13 percent from the week before, led by concentrated interest in conventional loans. Government refinance applications hovered at 4 percent last week, while the refinance share of mortgage activity stepped up to 74.9 percent of total volume from 72.1 percent from the week before.

The four-week moving average went up 1.88 percent for the Refinance Index, 1.77 percent for the seasonally adjusted Market Index, and 1.57 percent for the Purchase Index.

The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity fell to 5.4 percent from 5.7 percent of total application volume from the last week.

Mortgage rates slammed into new lows last week and again this week, according to real estate Web site ""Zillow"":http://www.zillow.com/, which found rates for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.59 percent, the lowest recorded by the company since it began tracking rates in 2008.

Analysts credit an upset in Greek elections last week with the rush by investors to U.S. Treasury debt, with policymakers in the Mediterranean country likely seeing elections next week if the parliament is unable to form a coalition government.

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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