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US mortgage activity rises for first time in 4 weeks: MBA

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - 23:16
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Total weekly applications for US home mortgages rose for the first time in four weeks as mortgage rates fell for a second week, according to data from an industry group released on Wednesday.

[NEW YORK] Total weekly applications for US home mortgages rose for the first time in four weeks as mortgage rates fell for a second week, according to data from an industry group released on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of total mortgage activity rose 7.1 per cent in the week ended Aug 5. It reached a three-year peak a month earlier.

Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, the most widely held type of US home loans, declined last week despite a rise in benchmark Treasury yields.

Applications for loans to refinance and to purchase homes increased last week.

The industry group's seasonally adjusted index on mortgage activity for refinancing rose 10 per cent from the prior week. It reached its highest level since June 2013 in the week ended on July 8.

Its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage activity for home purchases, a leading indicator of housing sales, rose 3 per cent last week, rebounding from a five-month low seen the previous week.

The share of weekly refinancing requests was 62.4 per cent of total applications, compared with 60.7 per cent the previous week, the Washington-based group said.

Meanwhile, the average rate on "conforming" 30-year home mortgages, or loans with balances of US$417,000 or less, fell to 3.65 per cent last week from 3.67 per cent, MBA said.

The average 30-year rate touched 3.60 per cent in the week ended July 8, which was the lowest since May 2013 and not far from the historic low of 3.47 per cent struck in December 2012, according to MBA data.

Mortgage rates fell despite last week's rise in Treasury yields in reaction to a surprisingly strong July jobs report.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose 12 basis points last week to 1.582 per cent before falling to 1.523 per cent early Wednesday, according to Reuters data.

REUTERS