Golf Outing Tickets

The Real Deal Miami

Interest rates slide on Middle East unrest, spurring additional mortgage activity

February 23, 2011 12:49PM

Mortgage application volume rose 13.2 percent last week as Middle East unrest pushed interest rates downward, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. During the week that ended Feb. 18, the number of Americans looking to refinance surged by 17.8 percent over the previous week, and the number of purchase applications rose by 5.1 percent. Meanwhile, the average contract interest rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 5 percent, from 5.12 percent one week earlier. The interest rate for its 15-year counterpart fell to 4.28 percent from 4.34 percent the week before. “Ongoing turmoil in the Middle East brought interest rates lower last week,” said Michael Fratantoni, vice president of research and economics for the MBA. “Borrowers took advantage of these lower rates, bringing application activity back near levels from two weeks ago, following sharp declines last week.” TRD