Mortgage applications declined last week: MBA

NEW YORK Wed Apr 6, 2011 8:50am EDT

A view of a home for sale in Los Angeles February 24, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

A view of a home for sale in Los Angeles February 24, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as a drop in refinancing outweighed a borrower rush to government-insured lending programs, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase loan demand, declined 2 percent in the week ended April 1.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications slumped 6.2 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases rose 6.7 percent to its highest level of the year.

Borrowers likely rushed to apply ahead of an April 1 increase in insurance premiums for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, Michael Fratantoni, the MBA's vice president of research and economics, said in a statement.

The MBA government purchase index jumped more than 10 percent to its highest level in nearly 11 months.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.93 percent in the week, up from 4.92 percent the week before.

(Reporting by Al Yoon; Editing by Diane Craft)

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