(Reuters) - U.S. borrowers filed the fewest applications for home refinancing in almost 18 years last week even as mortgage rates drifted lower in step with U.S. bond yields, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.
The Washington-based industry group said its seasonally adjusted index on refinancing activity fell 5.0 percent to 783.7 in the week ended Nov. 16. This was the weakest reading since December 2000.
On the other hand, MBA’s seasonally adjusted measure on loan applications to buy a home rose to 227.7, up 3.1 percent for its biggest weekly gain since the July 5 week. It fell to its lowest since February 2017 the week before.
Overall mortgage activity still edged lower by 0.1 percent from the week before to 316.4, which was the lowest since December 2014, MBA’s total application index showed.
The latest figures were not adjusted for the U.S. Veterans Day holiday last week, MBA said.
The mixed readings came as most borrowing costs fell with lower Treasury yields as investors moved into bonds due to volatility in the stock market.
Worries about slowing global growth have roiled Wall Street this week.
“Treasury rates declined last week as equity markets continued to see large swings amidst investor concerns over global economic growth,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement.
Interest rates on 30-year conforming mortgages whose balances are $453,100 or less on average edged down to 5.16 percent from the prior week’s 5.17 percent, which was the highest since April 2010.
Other mortgage rates that the MBA tracks were unchanged to down 10 basis points last week.
Last week, benchmark 10-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR declined by over 11 basis points. On Wednesday, they were up 1.5 basis points at 3.063 percent after hitting a seven-week low of 3.036 percent on Tuesday.
GRAPHIC: U.S. mortgages - tmsnrt.rs/2PeEslD
Reporting by Richard Leong in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe
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