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Mortgage Market Improves

Rates lower, refinances higher

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily

Aug. 18, 2010

As mortgage rates headed lower this week, it was the third straight week that new mortgage activity increased. A bigger share of refinance borrowers accounted for the new activity. Meanwhile, mortgage rates on jumbo loans improved compared to conforming loans.

The Mortgage Market Index for the week ended Wednesday was 350, jumping from 325 a week earlier. The index reflects the number pricing inquiries by mortgage brokers for new loan applicants.

The index -- which was launched in December 2009 -- has been up each week since July 28, when it stood at 310. The highest index was 355 reached the week ended June 30.

Nearly two-thirds of this week's loan shoppers were looking for a refinance, a slightly bigger share than last week.

Most borrowers who are refinancing are not extracting any home equity.

The conventional 30-year mortgage was 4.320 percent this week, improving from 4.355 percent seven days earlier.

At the same time, the jumbo 30-year fell to 5.200 percent from 5.260 percent.

The bigger drop in the jumbo average helped improve the jumbo spread -- the difference between jumbo rates and conventional rates -- by 0.03 percent.

The full Mortgage Market Index report is at

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