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Mortgage applications increased 4.8 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 30, 2012.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 4.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 5.0 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 4.0 percent from the previous week. This is the first weekly increase in the Refinance Index after six weeks of consecutive declines. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 7.2 percent from one week earlier to its highest level since December 2, 2011. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 7.6 percent compared with the previous week and was 2.4 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Applications to buy a home picked up last week, and are running more than two percent above the level reported at this time last year. Home purchase applications for conventional loans are now about 10 percent above last year’s level,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “Applications for government loans increased by more than 10 percent over the week, for both purchase and refinance, likely spurred by borrowers seeking to apply before scheduled increases in FHA mortgage insurance premiums at the beginning of April.”

The four week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index is down 2.07 percent. The four week moving average is up 3.48 percent for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, while this average is down 3.73 percent for the Refinance Index.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 71.2 percent of total applications from 71.9 percent the previous week. This is the lowest refinance share since July 29, 2011. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent of total applications from the previous week.

In February 2012, among home purchase applications, 85.8 percent were for fixed-rate, 30-year loans, 6.6 percent were for 15-year fixed loans and 5.9 percent were for ARMs. The share of purchase applications for “other” fixed-rate mortgages with amortization schedules other than 15- and 30-year terms was 1.7 percent of all purchase applications.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) decreased to 4.16 percent from 4.23 percent, with points decreasing to 0.43 from 0.45 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) decreased to 4.46 percent from 4.54 percent, with points increasing to 0.49 from 0.46 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.89 percent from 3.96 percent, with points increasing to 0.58 from 0.52 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.40 percent from 3.50 percent, with points decreasing to 0.41 from 0.42 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 2.93 percent from 3.00 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 from 0.42 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

For more information, please visit www.mortgagebankers.org.

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