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Consumers Benefit from Market Movements

New mortgage activity rises as rates ease

Jan. 13, 2011

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily

It was the second good week in a row for mortgage shoppers as rates eased. Consumers searching for larger, 'jumbo' mortgages got an even bigger break.

A measure of consumer mortgage shopping, the Mortech-Mortgage Daily Mortgage Market Index, was up for the week ended Wednesday to 223 from 184 in the previous week that included the New Years holiday.

During the same week last year, the index was higher at 256.

Behind the improvement in weekly activity was an increase in the share of prospective borrowers who were seeking a refinance.

Pushing refinance activity higher was improved interest rates.

The conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was off slightly from last week at 4.86 percent. The jumbo 30-year, however, was more aggressive in its decline -- falling to 5.60 percent. The bigger jumbo movement slashed the cost of a jumbo mortgage relative to its conforming counterpart.

The average U.S. home-loan amount rose to $206,602 from last week's $203,918.

Hawaii's $298,224 average this week was the highest of all states, and South Dakota's $147,985 was lowest.

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