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Mortgage market news releases this week were relatively sparse.

Average weekly mortgage rates pushed higher in the second week of the year, according to Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average increased 6 basis points during the week to 3.40%. At 3.40% the weekly average is at its highest reading since November 8, 2012.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage average also increased, adding two basis points to end the week at 2.66%.

Mortgage application activity reported during the January 11 week by the Mortgage Bankers Association was also higher. Mortgage applications increased 11.70%. Refinance applications increased 12%. The MBA's Purchase Index also increased, adding 10% to its previous reading.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's Vice President and Chief Economist, attributed the week's rate increases and application improvements to labor market employment growth in December. The Bureau of Labor's Employment Situation report for December showed a monthly increase of 155,000 jobs, keeping the unemployment rate steady at 7.8%.

Improvements in the labor market appeared to increase mortgage application demand causing the slight increase in the weekly fixed-rate mortgage averages.

Source: Mortgage Market Weekly Update: January 7 - 11, 2013