January 12, 2011 / 12:12 PM / 7 years ago

Mortgage applications increased last week: MBA

<p>Real estate signs are seen in the front yards of houses in this file photo taken in Maricopa, Arizona May 27, 2009.Joshua Lott/Files</p>

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages increased last week as lending rates eased from recent highs, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity rose 2.2 percent in the week ended January 7 to its highest level in about a month. It had dropped on the back of refinancing activity as influential U.S. Treasury yields soared in late 2010.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.78 percent in the week, down from 4.82 percent the prior week and 4.93 percent before the Christmas holiday.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications climbed 4.9 percent last week, and its gauge of loan requests for home purchases dropped 3.7 percent.

Reporting by Al Yoon; Editing by Diane Craft.

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