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Mortgage Applications in U.S. Rise by Most Since End of February

(Bloomberg) -- Mortgage applications in the U.S. rose last week by the most since February as more Americans borrowed money to buy homes.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index advanced 5.3 percent in the seven days ended May 2, the first increase in three weeks, the Washington-based trade group reported today. The purchase gauge advanced 8.9 percent, also the biggest jump since February, and the refinance measure rose 2.4 percent.

The share of applicants seeking to refinance fell for the third week to 48.7 percent, the lowest since July 2009, from 50.4 percent, today’s report showed.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.43 percent from the prior week’s 4.49 percent. The average rate on a 15-year loan was 3.52 percent compared with 3.53 percent a week earlier.

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