With interest rates once again touching on new historic lows, mortgage applications rose almost 3% on a sequential basis for the week ending Sept. 21 with bids to refinance reaching their highest level since early August.

According to new figures compiled by the Mortgage Bankers Associations, refinances accounted for 81.2% of all new business with purchase money transactions representing the balance.

The average rate charged on a 30-year conventional mortgage fell to 3.63% from 3.72% the week before, the lowest reading since the trade group started its weekly survey. The 30-year Federal Housing Administration rate fell to 3.44%, the Jumbo rate 3.87%, also new lows.

Many lenders continue to report strong volumes. According to interviews with search firm executives, lenders such as Nationstar Mortgage and Vericrest Financial are aggressively hiring. “Nationstar is on fire with its hiring,” one search executive said, requesting his name not be used. (Nationstar is a candidate to buy Residential Capital Corp.)

As far as origination volumes are concerned, mortgage bankers are on track to fund roughly $400 billion or more in the current quarter. In 2Q12, the industry funded $433 billion, according to figures compiled by ASR sister publication National Mortgage News and the Quarterly Data Report.

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