US mortgage applications down as Sandy hit Northeast -MBA

NEW YORK Wed Nov 7, 2012 6:59am EST

NEW YORK Nov 7 (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as Superstorm Sandy battered the East Coast and disrupted normal business activity for millions of people, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity fell 5 percent in the week ended Nov. 2.

The group's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications and its index for loan requests for home purchases both dropped about 5 percent as well.

The storm had "a significant impact on application volumes in the East" said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, in a statement.

Fratantoni said that applications fell more than 60 percent in New Jersey, nearly 50 percent in New York and almost 40 percent in Connecticut, with other nearby states seeing smaller declines.

Certain states in other parts of the country showed increases in loan application volume last week, Fratantoni said.

The refinance share of total mortgage activity stayed at 80 percent of applications, and fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.61 percent in the week, down 4 basis points from 3.65 percent the week before.

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