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Mortgage Applications Advance for First Time in Six Weeks
WASHINGTON (12/12/13)--Mortgage market activity was up slightly last week despite increasing interest rates.
 
The Mortgage Bankers Association Market Composite Index was 1% higher for the week ending Dec. 6. The measure's two components, its refinance and purchase applications indexes, both increased by 2.1% and 0.9% respectively.
 
The increase--the first in six weeks--occurred despite interest rates across the board ending the week at their highest level since September. Two key MBA rate measures were up by 10 basis points. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.61%, and the 30-year jumbo interest rate measure increased to 4.59%. The five-year adjustable-mortgage rate was up two basis points, to 3.11%.

Refinancing increased as a percentage of all market activity--to 65% from 63%.

The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity also increased to 8.1%, its highest level since July of 2008.

A four-week moving average shows that refinance activity fell 15.7% over the past month and 63% the past year. The gauge is at its lowest level since the middle of 2009. A similar measure of purchase applications was up by 3.5% over the past month, but down 8% on an annual basis (Economy.com Dec. 11).

The refinance and purchase indexes were lower than they were the week before Thanksgiving--by 16% and 3% respectively. For the week ending Nov. 29--a time frame that included an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday--the composite index fell 12.8%.

The MBA composite index is based on a survey conducted since 1990 that covers over three-quarters of retail residential mortgage applications in the U.S.  


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