Mortgage Applications Jump 11%

NEW YORK (Reuters) — U.S. mortgage applications rose for the first time in three weeks as near record-low interest rates spurred demand for home refinancing and purchase loans, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.

The jump in demand came several weeks after the unveiling of the strongest government action yet to aid homeowners since the housing market’s meltdown began and may help gauge what is in store this spring, the peak home-buying season.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications, which includes both purchase and refinance loans, for the week ended March 6 increased 11.3% to 723.4.