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The volume of mortgage applications increased the final week of 2010 after dropping to the lowest point in a year the prior week. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its market composite index rose 2.3% for the week ended Dec. 31 following a 3.9% decline the week ended Dec. 24. The results for both weeks include an adjustment for the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Unadjusted, the index fell 23.7% the week before Christmas and declined 10% the week after, according to the MBA. Refinancing applications fell steadily the last two months of the year until the final week of the year. The MBA refinancing index dropped 7.2% for the week ended Dec. 24 from the prior week and then bounced back with a 3.9% gain the following week. The refinancing share of all mortgage applications continues to decline as interest rates move away from generational lows. Refinancings accounted for 70.3% of all mortgage applications for the week ended Dec. 24 and 71% for the last week of the year. For much of August, September and October when interest rates flirted with 4%, refinancings were accounting for more than four-fifths of all mortgages. Last week, Freddie Mac said the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed mortgage for 2010 was the lowest in 55 years at just below 4.7%. The MBA said the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed mortgage rose to 4.93% for the week ended Dec. 24 from 4.84% the prior week. The rate slid back to 4.82% for the week ended Dec. 31. The average rate for a 15-year, fixed mortgage remained flat at 4.22% for the week before Christmas and then edged up to 4.23% the following week. Write to Jason Philyaw.

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