The Mortgage Bankers Association's index increased 5.8% last week, indicating a bump in the number of mortgage applications. Refinancings were up 6%, while purchase applications increased 5.5%. Mortgage rates remain near record lows, helping to spur refinancing. However, with the unemployment rate persistently high and foreclosures putting additional pressure on home prices, the housing market is expected to continue to be restrained into next year.

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