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In the week ended March 8, the contract rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage decreased to 6.84% (down from 7.02% the week before), according to Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) data. That decline was the largest in nearly three months and prompted many homeowners who had taken on mortgages when rates were at or near 8% to refinance their loans. As a result, mortgage application volume rose, reports.

What the MBA said: Rates fell “because of incoming economic data showing a weaker service sector and a less robust job market, with an increase in the unemployment rate and downward revisions to job growth in prior months” Mike Fratantoni, senior vice president and chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, said in a statement.

On the refinancing activity rising sharply in the latest week, Fratantoni said that despite the increase, “the level of refinance activity remains quite low, and we expect that most of this activity reflects borrowers who took out a loan at or near the peak of rates in the past two years.”

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