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Mortgage applications surge 13%

WASHINGTON » Mortgage applications rose 13 percent in the week ended Aug. 14 as consumers refinanced at the lowest rates in decades.

The increase was driven by a 17 percent surge in applications to refinance home loans, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. Those taken out to purchase homes fell by more than 3 percent. The numbers are adjusted for seasonal factors.

Home refinancing hit the highest level since May 2009 but was still lower than the last big boom during the first three months of that year.

Applications to refinance loans made up more than 81 percent of all home loan activity, the highest share since January 2009. Low mortgage rates have failed to spark home sales, which remain hobbled by the weak economy and tight credit standards.

Rates have fallen since spring as investors sought the safety of Treasury bonds, lowering their yield. Mortgage rates tend to track those yields.

TOTAL RECALL

About 3,700 2007 and 2008 Zooper Tango double strollers, manufactured in China and distributed by Lan Enterprises LLC of Hillsboro, Ore., formerly of Beaverton, Ore. The strollers are being recalled because the frame latch above the front wheels can allow them to unexpectedly collapse. The company has received 185 reports of frame latch failures, including one report of scrapes and bruises. The strollers were sold by juvenile products stores and mass merchandise retailers around the country, as well as on www.babiesrus.com, between January 2007 and August 2008. Details: by phone at 888-966-7379, online at www.cpsc.gov.

 

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