Home mortgage applications at North American Mortgage Co. increased 85% in April from a year earlier, to $1.5 billion. Loan fundings were $879 million, up 104% from last year's level, when interest rates were relatively high.

This April, refinancings represented 37% of fundings and 35% of applications. Purchase-loan applications were $949 million, up 57%.

The increase was spurred by an improvement in the California housing market, where North American makes almost 35% of its loans, said chairman and chief executive John F. Farrell Jr.

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