U.S. mortgage applications gain as rates slip: MBA

Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:01am EDT

(Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home loans rose in the most recent week as interest rates fell for a second straight week, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 5.5 percent in the week ended September 20.

That follows a gain of 11.2 percent in the week ended September 13.

The current week includes the Fed's decision last Wednesday not to slow its quantitative easing bond-buying program. The U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to keep buying $85 billion per month in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities helped take yields to multimonth lows.

MBA data showed 30-year mortgage rates eased 13 basis points to 4.62 percent, after earlier this month matching the 4.8 percent high for 2013.

The refinancing index gained 4.9 percent to 1,889.2 after a drop two weeks ago brought the index to its lowest since June 2009.

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

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Diane Craft)

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