Refinancing activity plunged in the final two weeks of 2009 due to a jump in mortgage rates and consumers being distracted by the holidays.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), by the week ending Jan. 1, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages was at 5.18%, up 26 basis points from 4.92% recorded for the week ending Dec. 18.

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