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RISMEDIA, March 26, 2009-The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 20, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 1159.4, an increase of 32.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from 876.9 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 31.4% compared with the previous week and 18.0% compared with the same week one year earlier.

“Mortgage rates fell sharply to low levels not seen in six decades following the Federal Reserve’s announcement on the Treasury bond and mortgage-backed securities purchase programs. The drop offered a sizable refinance incentive for most homeowners sparking a pickup in refinance activity,” said Orawin Velz, associate vice president of Economic Forecasting.

The Refinance Index increased 41.5% to 6363.2 from 4497.6 the previous week and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 4.2% to 267.8 from 257.1 one week earlier. The Conventional Purchase Index increased 3.9% while the Government Purchase Index (largely FHA) increased 4.6%.

The four week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index is up 13.9%. The four week moving average is up 1.7% for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, while this average is up 18.7% for the Refinance Index.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 78.5% of total applications from 72.9% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 1.4% from 2.0% of total applications from the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.63% from 4.89%, with points decreasing to 1.13 from 1.23 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans. The contract rate is the lowest in the history of the survey, which began in 1990.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.48% from 4.52%, with points decreasing to 1.07 from 1.18 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.

The average contract interest rate for one-year ARMs increased to 6.22% from 6.20%, with points increasing to 0.15 from 0.14 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.

For more information, visit www.mortgagebankers.org.

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