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Mortgage Applications Recovering, but Still Lag

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Mortgage Applications Recovering, but Still LagOverall, the number of consumers who sought to either refinance or obtain a home loan rose 7.1 percent in the week ending July 29, but the increase only brought the total mortgage market back to levels observed last month, according to the latest weekly statistics from the Mortgage Bankers Association. As interest rates dipped, refinance applications rose 7.8 percent, while the number of purchases rose 5.1 percent.

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“Refinance application volume increased, but even though 30-year mortgage rates are back below 4.5 percent, the refinance index is still almost 30 percent below last year’s level,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics. “Factors such as negative equity and a weak job market continue to constrain borrowers. Purchase activity increased off of a low base, returning to levels of one month ago, but remains weak by historical standards.”

The refinance share of the total mortgage market climbed to 70.1 percent, up from 69.6 percent in the previous week, the report said.

In addition, concerns about the federal debt ceiling crisis depressed mortgage rates to the point where some borrowers may have been able to find home loans with APRs of less than 4 percent, a report in the Los Angeles Times said. In fact, the industry tracking company Zillow noted that the national mortgage rates reached their lowest point since November.

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