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Byline: Matt Glynn
Aug. 4--An abrupt rise in mortgage rates has cooled activity in refinancing, and has raised the pressure to close deals before applicants' lower-rate commitments expire.
Homeowners in recent months have seized on low mortgage rates and fueled a boom in refinancing. The average rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage has stayed below 6 percent.
But in the past week, mortgage rates shot above 6 percent, the highest level since last December.
Consumers have responded swiftly. The number of refinancing applications is down 50 percent from just a month ago, and is at its lowest level this year, according to the Mortgage …