The Mortgage Bankers Association's composite index of loan applications increased by 25.6% to hit 1117.1 in the week ending March 12, its highest level since last July.On an unadjusted basis, loan applications were up 24.8% from the previous week but were down 31.9% compared to the same week a year earlier. The Purchase Index rose 5.6% to 452.4 during the week. The refinancing index surged by 39.7% to hit 4983.7. Refinancing accounted for 62.8% of loan applications, up from 56.1% a week earlier. The average contract rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 5.37%, up from 5.34% a week earlier, with average points of 1.26%, according to the MBA.

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