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March 11 (Reuters) - Americans scrambled to refinance their home loans last week as the interest rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to match a record low as the coronavirus outbreak sent government bond yields tumbling, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.
Applications for home mortgages jumped by 55.4% in the week ended March 6, leaving the Washington-based trade group’s seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications at its highest level since April 2009.
The increase was led by the largest weekly surge in mortgage refinancing applications since November 2008 and comes as the interest rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell to 3.47% from 3.57% the week before. That matches the MBA’s record-low mortgage rate in December 2012 in a series that dates from 1990.
Applications for mortgages to purchase a home jumped 5.6%.
The coronavirus outbreak has rattled financial markets concerned it could cause a recession, and such worries prompted the U.S. Federal Reserve last week to cut its benchmark interest rate in the first emergency rate cut since 2008.
Yields on U.S. Treasury securities have fallen to record lows, and mortgage rates, most sensitive to the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield, have followed suit. The 10-year yield was last trading just below 0.75%, after touching a record low of around 0.32% on Monday.
Reporting by Dan Burns Editing by Leslie Adler