NEW YORK, Sept 23 Applications for U.S. home
mortgages rose last week as both purchase and refinancing
applications climbed, 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 13.9 percent in
the week ended Sept. 18.
The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing
applications rose 17.7 percent, while the gauge of loan requests
for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 9.1
percent to its highest level since June.
"We saw significant rate volatility last week surrounding
the FOMC meeting, and rate declines toward the end of the week
likely drove applications from both prospective home buyers and
borrowers looking to refinance," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's
chief economist. The Federal Reserve last week decided to hold
benchmark interest rates near zero.
"The 30-year fixed rate remained unchanged over the week
even though there was substantial intra-week fluctuation."
The refinance share of total mortgage activity increased to
58.4 percent of applications from 56.2 percent the week before.
Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.09 percent in the
week, unchanged from the previous week.
The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential
mortgage applications, according to MBA.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Diane Craft)