U.S. mortgage application volume up last week

The volume of mortgage applications filed in the United States last week rose a seasonally adjusted 13 percent from the previous week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today, as interest rates fell.

Refinance activity jumped 18 percent, according to the MBA’s weekly survey, which covers more than half of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications. Purchasing was up 5.1 percent in the week ended Friday.

Borrowers are taking advantage of lower interest rates caused by the turmoil in the Middle East, said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5 percent, down from 5.12 percent, while the average for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.28 percent from 4.34 percent.

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