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Applications, Refis on the Rise According to Weekly Index

The weekly mortgage applications numbers are in, and current data shows an increase nationally. The ""Mortgage Bankers Association's"":http://www.mbaa.org/default.htm Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ended September 23, 2011 demonstrated a 9.3 percent rise in mortgage loan application volume on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to the Market Composite Index contained within the report.

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Unadjusted statistics showed a comparable 9.2 percent increase in volume for the week, and the survey's Purchase Index rose 2.6 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis from week to week. The unadjusted Purchase Index demonstrated a 2.2 percent rise from last week and 0.1 percent hike year-over-year.

The four-week moving average for the Market Index gained ground with a 1.96 percent improvement between weeks by seasonally-adjusted numbers, and the four week moving average is also elevated for the Refinance Index, which was up 2.6 percent this week. However, the four week moving average for the Purchase Index headed south, declining by 0.18 percent.

MBA's vice president of research and economics, Mike Fratantoni, commented on the current report, saying, ""Mortgage rates declined last week, at least partially in response to the Fed's announcement that they would shift their portfolio towards longer-term Treasury securities, and that they would resume buying mortgage-backed securities. With lower rates,

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refinance application volume increased to its highest level since August 19, 2011. Purchase application volume also increased. However, the increase was in conventional purchase applications, which were up by 4.9 percent. Purchase applications for government loans fell by 0.6 percent over the week, likely influenced by the pending decline in FHA loan limits.""

The survey showed refinances were up, totaling 79.7 percent of total applications recorded for the week, versus 78.3 percent from the week prior. Adjustable-rate mortgages saw a decrease in market share, dropping to 6.1 percent off of 6.7 percent during the previous week.

Month-to-month statistics between July and August were also released, and the country's average loan size rang in at $212,700 for August, displaying improvement from $211,200 in July. Average refinancing loan sizes saw a more demonstrable rise, going from $209,200 to $241,300 between months. The largest loans purchased and refinanced were focused in the Pacific region of the U.S., with totals of $304,800 and $344,500 respectively.

Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances - those under $417,500 - dropped to 4.25 percent off of 4.29 from week to week, and the effective rate also declined. Average contract interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances - those above $417,500 - fell as well, landing at 4.51 percent off of 4.55 percent during the prior week. The effective rate for jumbo loans was also down.

Average contract interest rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were up, going from 3.46 percent to 3.47 percent between weeks, while points remained unchanged. Rates for 5/1 ARMs dropped to 2.95 percent from 2.96 percent during the previous week and points were down as well.

The weekly MBA surveys cover roughly 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications and full reports are available through MBA Research (202.557.2830, mbaresearch@mortgagebankers.org).
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About Author: Abby Gregory

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