Housing Market Wavers at Year End

While a key housing market indicator rose slightly at the end of 2010, it wasn't the holiday gift the housing industry had hoped for. The mortgage application index, which reflects the number of mortgages initiated by new buyers and refinancers, increased 2.3 percent for the week ending December 31 after dropping 3.9 percent the previous week, according the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. The refinance portion of the index represented more than two-thirds of the mortgage applications for the latter week. Lukewarm purchase activity can be attributed to the holiday season, as well as rising interest rates, which reached an average of 4.93 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage on Dec. 24, the highest since May 7.

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