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Record Low Mortgage Rates Boost Refinance Activity in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

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RISMEDIA, January 15, 2009-The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 9, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 1324.8, an increase of 15.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis from 1143.8 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 95.7% compared with the previous week and was up 52.4% compared with the same week one year earlier.

The Refinance Index increased 25.6% to 7414.1 from 5904.5 the previous week and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 14.1% to 295.8 from 344.2 one week earlier. The Refinance Index is at its highest level since the week ending June 27, 2003, when it was 8599.1.

The seasonally adjusted Conventional Purchase Index decreased 10.3% while the Government Purchase Index (largely FHA) decreased 21.8%.

The four week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index is up 10.8%. The four week moving average is up 0.8% for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, while this average is up 13.8% for the Refinance Index.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 85.3% of total applications from 79.8% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 1.1% from 0.9% of total applications from the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.89% from 5.07%, with points increasing to 1.20 from 1.16 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans. The contract rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages is the lowest recorded in the survey. The previous low was 4.99% for the week ending June 13, 2003.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.63% from 4.67%, with points decreasing to 1.14 from 1.16 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.

The average contract interest rate for one-year ARMs decreased to 5.89% from 5.90%, with points decreasing to 0.11 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.

The survey covers approximately 50% of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.

For more information, visit www.mortgagebankers.org.

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