Record-Low Mortgage Rates (Finally) Spur New Loan Applications

Just when many started believing that home sales wouldn't pick up, no matter how low interest rates dropped, the Mortgage Bankers Association registered a slight rise in new mortgage applications. Last week, as 30-year-fixed mortgage rates dropped to around 4.59 percent, new mortgage applications increased 3.4 percent. And while current levels of new home loans are still 40 percent below an April high for 2010 (due to the federal homebuyer tax credit), new refinance applications are up 30 percent in the last four weeks (and up 9 percent in the last week), only slightly below their peak in May.