Mortgage applications fell last week: MBA

NEW YORK Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:58am EDT

An empty post where a ''for sale'' sign used to hang is seen outside a home in Brentwood, New York February 10, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

An empty post where a ''for sale'' sign used to hang is seen outside a home in Brentwood, New York February 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as refinancing applications for government loans slowed, 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 demand, fell 7.1 percent in the week ended June 22.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications decreased by 8.3 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, fell by 1.4 percent.

The refinance share of total mortgage activity fell to 79 percent of applications from more than 81 percent the week before. Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, attributed the decline to a fall-off in refinance applications for government-backed loans, which had soared the previous week.

"The large swings in activity were due to the implementation of FHA's new premiums on streamline refinances, and borrowers timing their application to lower their premiums," he said in a statement.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.88 percent in the week, a gain of a single basis point from 3.87 the week before.

The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.

(Reporting by Anna Louie Sussman; Editing by Diane Craft)

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