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In what could mean good news for home sellers, mortgage applications soared in the first full week of the year as consumers raced to lock in mortgage rates that have hit their lowest level in almost 20 months. However, the increase was largely driven by a 66% increase in applications to refinance. Still, that’s a big chuck on new home buyers stepping into the market.

During the week ended last Thursday, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.73%, according to Freddie Mac.

Applications rose 49% for the week ended Jan. 9 over the week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. It was the largest weekly increase since November 2008 and the most applications since August 2013, after adjusting for seasonal factors.

Even with the seasonal adjustment, mortgage application estimates can be volatile around holiday weeks, and less reliable.

Source: Mortgage applications soar 49% as rates tumble – MarketWatch.