Mortgage applications drop in latest week: MBA

NEW YORK Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:13am EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week, though demand for mortgage purchases rose for a fourth straight week, 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, dropped 0.9 percent in the week ending November 23.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications slipped 1.5 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 2.6 percent.

The refinance share of total mortgage activity was unchanged at 81 percent of applications.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.53 percent in the week, down 1 basis point from 3.54 percent the week before. The drop brought rates closer to historical lows in the wake of the Federal Reserve's September announcement that it would move to boost the economy through the purchase of mortgage-backed securities.

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

(Reporting by Gabriel Debenedetti; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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