WASHINGTON (AP) -- Mortgage application volume rose 8.3 percent during the week ending Jan. 18, according to the trade group Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly application survey.
The MBA's application index rose to 981.5 from 906.4 the previous week.
Refinance volume spurred the growth, increasing 16.9 percent. Purchase volume fell 4.6 percent during the week ending Jan. 18. Refinance volume accounted for 66 percent of all applications.
The index peaked at 1,856.7 during the week ending May 30, 2003, at the height of the housing boom.
An index value of 100 is equal to the application volume on March 16, 1990, the first week the MBA tracked application volume. A reading of 981.5 means mortgage application activity is 9.815 times higher than it was when the MBA began tracking the data.
The survey provides a snapshot of mortgage lending activity among mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. It covers about 50 percent of all residential retail mortgage originations each week.
Mortgage volume rose as interest rates continued to fall. The average interest rate for traditional, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 5.49 percent from 5.62 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, which are often used to refinance a home, fell to 4.96 percent from 5.07 percent.
Rates for a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage declined to 5.51 percent from 5.77 percent.
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*Courtesy of CNNMoney.com
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