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Mortgage applications up for first time in six weeks: MBA

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Mortgage loan applications increased for the first time in six weeks, up 14.6% for the week ending Oct. 8, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly applications survey. Last week, the MBA reported a 0.2% drop in applications. The refinance index also increased, up 21% from the previous week, but the seasonally adjusted purchase index dropped 8.5% after gains last week. Michael Fratantoni, vice president of research and economics at the MBA, said applications for conventional purchase mortgages are at their highest level since the beginning of May, just after the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. "After five weeks of steadily declining rates to yet another new low, borrowers who had been on the fence jumped off, which factored into refinance activity surging more than 20 percent," said The four-week moving average for the seasonally adjusted market index increased 3%, while dropping 0.3% for the seasonally adjusted purchase index. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 83.1% of the total applications, up nearly five percentage points from 78.9% last week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of the market dropped to 5.4% from 6.1%. The MBA also tracks average mortgage rates. For the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, rates decreased to 4.21% at 1.02 point. It's the lowest rate on record. The 15-year FRM rate dropped to 3.62%, and the one-year ARM fell to 7.03%. Write to Jon Prior.

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