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U.S. mortgage apps plunge by 9.5 percent

February 16, 2011 12:40PM

Mortgage application volume declined by 9.5 percent nationwide last week as interest rates remained above the key 5-percent threshold, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association through Feb. 11. Refinance applications declined the most, by 11.4 percent, to their lowest level since early July 2009. Purchase applications dropped by 5.9 percent week-over-week. The average contract interest rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remained relatively steady, at 5.12 percent last week. The 15-year mortgage’s average rate rose to 4.34 percent — its highest since last April. Mortgage rates, observed Michael Fratantoni, MBA vice president, are now nearly a full percentage point above their lows in October 2010. “Buyers have not returned to the
market as rising rates have reduced affordability, to some extent,” he said. TRD