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Drop in mortgage rates triggers race to buy, refinance

March 26th, 2009 12:00 am by Staff Report

USA Today is reporting that tumbling interest rates are setting off a mortgage-refinancing scramble among homeowners and pulling undecided buyers into the market.

Loan terms for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.63% from 4.89% for the week ending March 20, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. That's the lowest in the history of the survey, which began in 1990.

Refinancing accounted for 78.5% of all mortgage applications last week.

Applications are up in part because of a federal refinancing program through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that is part of the Obama administration's housing rescue plan.

Rates have been driven down by the Federal Reserve's decision last week to buy up to $300 billion of long-term government bonds and $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities held by Fannie and Freddie.

Overall mortgage applications last week were 20% above their year-ago level, according to the MBA.

CLICK HERE for the full report.

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