U.S. mortgage applications slide for fifth straight week -MBA

NEW YORK Wed Dec 4, 2013 7:00am EST

NEW YORK Dec 4 (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home loans tumbled in the latest week, led by a sharp slide in refinancing applications, 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, sank 12.8 percent in the week ended Nov. 29.

The week's results included an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, the group said.

The data marked the fifth straight weekly drop for the index, taking it to its lowest level since early September.

The fall in mortgage applications comes as investors try to gauge when the U.S. Federal Reserve might exit its bond-buying program.

The Fed has said it would begin to scale back its $85 billion per month in purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities when policy makers are convinced of a steady, self-sustaining recovery.

But data on the world's biggest economy have been mixed, leaving investors uncertain about the future path of U.S. monetary policy.

MBA data showed 30-year mortgage rates rose 3 basis points in the latest week to 4.51 percent.

The refinancing index sank 17.5 percent while the purchase index, a leading indicator of home sales, fell 4.1 percent.

The mortgage survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA. (Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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