April 20, 2011 / 11:15 AM / 6 years ago

Mortgage applications up first time in month: MBA

<p>A vacant home for sale is pictured in Yonkers, New York, October 26, 2010. AMike Segar</p>

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose for the first time in a month last week as interest rates eased and purchase activity picked up, 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, rose 5.3 percent in the week ended April 15.

That was driven by a 10 percent increase in the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, sending the purchase index to its highest level since early December. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications gained 2.7 percent

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.83 percent in the week, down from 4.98 percent the week before.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Leslie Adler

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