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Mortgage Applications Crawl Higher

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By Rex Nutting

RISMEDIA, May 3, 2007-(MarketWatch)-Applications for new mortgages increased 0.6% last week on higher demand for loans to buy a home, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

The total number of applications filed including purchase loans and refinancing loans was up about 9% compared with the same week a year ago.

The MBA's data do not indicate how many applications were accepted. Lenders have reported tightening their standards for loans, especially for subprime and exotic alt-A loans.

The number of applications filed to refinance an existing mortgage decreased 3.2% last week.

The volume of loan applications to buy a home increased 4% compared with the previous week.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan rose last week to 6.14% from 6.1%3.
The rate for a 15-year fixed loan, a popular refinancing option, rose to an average of 5.83% from 5.82%.

Average rates for one-year adjustable-rate mortgages were unchanged at 5.79%. ARMs accounted for 17.9% of total applications, a four-year low.

Rex Nutting is Washington bureau chief of MarketWatch.

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