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Mortgage applications surged last week as rates fell: MBA

Houses under construction are seen in Fontana in San Bernardino County, California, in this February 5, 2009 file photograph. REUTERS/Mario
Houses under construction are seen in Fontana in San Bernardino County, California, in this February 5, 2009 file photograph. REUTERS/Mario

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for home mortgages rebounded last week after three straight weeks of declines as interest rates tumbled, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, jumped 14.8 percent in the week ended March 1. The index hit its highest level since mid-January.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications also rose 14.8 percent. The gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, accelerated 15 percent.

The refinance share of total mortgage activity was unchanged from the previous week at 77 percent of applications.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.70 percent in the week, down 7 basis points from 3.70 percent.

The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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