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U.S. mortgage applications rebound, show modest gains

October 26, 2011 11:09AM

U.S. mortgage applications increased 4.9 percent for the week ending Oct. 21, according to weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released today, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unadjusted increase was 4.8 percent. Though the week did include the Columbus Day holiday, it followed a week where applications dropped precipitously.

Refinancings, which are not seasonally adjusted, increased to 4.4 percent, also rebounding from a double-digit decline.

The refinance share of mortgage decreased to 77.3 percent of total applications from 77.6 percent the prior week, while the adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity gained one-hundredth of a percentage point to 5.9 percent.

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged from the previous week. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances (less than $417,500 under a new law) held steady at 4.33 percent, while jumbo loans increased to 4.68 percent from 4.64 percent. For FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages the average rate fell by one basis point to 4.11 percent.

Meanwhile, the average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased by that same amount to 3.62 percent. ??Finally, in September, the investor share of mortgage applications reached 6 percent, just above August’s level of 5.7 percent, while the share of mortgage activity for second homes fell to 5.8 percent from 6 percent a month before. — Adam Fusfeld