Mortgage Applications in U.S. Surged Last Week on Lower Rates

Mortgage applications in the U.S. surged last week as Americans returned from holiday breaks and took advantage of falling borrowing costs.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index jumped 49.1 percent in the period ended Jan. 9 after an 11.1 percent increase the prior week, figures from the Washington-based group showed today. It’s not uncommon for the data around holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Day to be volatile.

The group’s refinancing gauge advanced 66.4 percent, while the purchase-applications measure increased 23.6 percent.

Last week, the average contract rate on a 30-year fixed loan fell to 3.89 percent, the lowest since mid-May 2013, from 4.01 percent. The average on a 15-year mortgage fell to 3.16 percent from 3.24 percent.

The share of all applicants seeking to refinance last week increased to 70.5 percent, the highest since May 2013, from the prior week’s 64.8 percent.

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