Mortgage investors, anxious over the record prices of government-backed securities, are paying unprecedented extra amounts for the types of bonds considered the least likely to prepay quickly, such as those backed by loans of less than $85,000. Bondholders paying more than face value risk losses if enough homeowners take out new mortgages to repay their existing debt. The securities have risen even as refinancing soars, driven by expanded government programs and loan rates that have set all-time lows for six straight weeks.

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