As interest rates plummeted due to economic turmoil overseas, applications to refinance mortgages helped drive loan applications 9.1% higher last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America said.

Refinancings represented 45.5% of total applications, up 0.3% from the previous week, the association said.

The association's refinancing index increased 9.86%, while its purchase applications index gained 10.81%.

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