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U.S. Mortgage Applications Rise on Sandy Rebound, Record Low Rates

Applications for U.S. home mortgages jumped last week, rebounding after a massive storm depressed applications on the East Coast and as a fall in interest rates to a new low spurred demand, 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, rose 12.6 percent in the week ended Nov 9.

Application volume in New Jersey more than doubled over the week, while volume in Connecticut and New York increased more than 60 percent, Mike Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, said in a statement.

The seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications surged 13.1 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, climbed 11 percent.

The refinance share of total mortgage activity rose to 81 percent of applications from 80 percent.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.52 percent, down 9 basis points from 3.61 percent the week before.

Interest rates had hit new lows following the Federal Reserve's September announcement of its latest aggressive stimulus plan, though rates had edged back up in subsequent weeks.

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

Copyright 2012 by Reuters. All rights reserved.

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