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Mortgage application volume rises last week

NEW YORK — Applications for mortgages to buy homes rose last week for the third straight week.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday overall applications increased 5.8 percent from a week earlier, driven by increases in purchase and refinance applications.

Those taken out to buy homes rose 5.5 percent from the previous week, and refinance applications increased 6 percent.

Mortgage rates have been at or near the lowest levels in decades since spring as investors have poured money into safer Treasury bonds. That has lowered their yields, which mortgage rates tend to track.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan was unchanged at 4.28 percent from a week earlier. Rates on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, a common refinancing option, were also unchanged at 3.64 percent.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s survey covers more than 50 percent of all applications nationwide.