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Home purchase loan demand up as rates hit record lows

By Julie Haviv

NEW YORK | Wed Oct 6, 2010 7:07am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. mortgage applications for home purchases rose for a second straight week, with demand at its highest level since early May as potential homeowners took advantage of record low interest rates, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.

Demand for home refinancing loans, however, slumped for a fifth straight week as tight lending standards and a weak labor market prevent many homeowners from taking advantage of rock-bottom rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association on Wednesday said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications, which includes both purchase and refinance loans, for the week ended October 1 decreased 0.2 percent. The four-week moving average of mortgage applications, which smooths the volatile weekly figures, was down 3.0 percent.

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