Sept 18 Applications for U.S. home loans edged
up in the most recent week, off their nearly five-year lows, as
interest rates eased from a 2013 high, 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 11.2 percent in
the week ended Sept. 13.
That follows a 13.5 percent slump last week that took the
index to its lowest since November 2008, in the thick of the
The data come the same day as U.S. Federal Reserve
policymakers meet to consider slowing a massive bond-buying
program, which includes purchases of mortgage-backed securities.
The Fed will issue a statement announcing its decision at 2
p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).
The Fed's stimulus program, known as quantitative easing or
QE3, has been a major boost for U.S. home prices, and many
economists worry that policymakers might withdraw their aid too
soon, dealing a blow to the housing recovery.
Borrowing costs have soared by more than a percentage point
since late May on views the Fed will soon slow its $85 billion
per month in buying of MBS and Treasuries.
MBA data showed 30-year mortgage rates eased 5 basis points
to 4.75 percent, after last week matching the 4.8 percent high
The refinancing index jumped 17.9 percent to 1,801.7 after a
plunge last week brought the index to its lowest since June
The mortgage survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail
residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.