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Mortgage Applications Surge on Refi Demand

Applications for U.S. home mortgages surged more than 20 percent last week, fueled by a wave of refinancing demand as interest rates dropped, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Mortgage
Mortgage

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, jumped 23.1 percent in the week ended Jan.13.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications climbed 26.4 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases rose 10.3 percent.

"With mortgage rates reaching new lows, refinance volume jumped," Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, said in a statement.

"Purchase activity also increased as buyers returned to the market after the holiday season." The refinance share of total mortgage activity rose to 82.2 percent of applications from 80.8 percent the previous week, making it the highest refinance share since October 2010.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.06 percent, down 5 basis points from 4.11 percent.

The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.

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    Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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