Mortgage application activity picked up a modest 4.9% in the week ending Oct. 21 as conforming and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage rates held steady.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the Refinance Index increased 4.4% to ~3546, but remains well off from its 2011 high of 4867 hit in mid-August. To produce fresh highs on the index, primary rates need to drop to the 3.80% area, MBS analysts said. As a percent of total application activity, refinancing share slipped to 77.3% from 77.6%.

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