January 11, 2017 / 2:00 PM / 7 months ago

U.S. mortgage applications to buy homes hit six-month high: MBA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. mortgages to buy a home rose to a six-month high last week as mortgage rates retreated further from more than two-year highs, Mortgage Bankers Association data released on Wednesday showed.

The Washington-based industry group said its seasonally adjusted measure on applications for mortgages for home purchase, a proxy on future home sales, rose 6.1 percent to 241.9 in the week ended Jan. 6.

Interest rates on 30-year, fixed-rate conforming mortgages, the most widely held type of U.S. home loan, averaged 4.32 percent, lower than the prior week's 4.39 percent.

Conforming mortgages are those with balances of $417,000 or less and qualify for guarantees from federal mortgage agencies Fannie Mae (FNMA.PK) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.PK).

Two weeks ago, interest rates on 30-year conforming mortgages averaged 4.45 percent, which was the highest since April 2014.

U.S. home borrowing costs have fallen in step with bond yields US10YT=RR due to renewed investor demand for U.S. government debt following a global bond market selloff stoked by fears about higher inflation and federal borrowing under a Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress.

MBA's seasonally adjusted refinancing index rose 4.4 percent to 1,182.3 last week with the refinance share of overall loan activity falling to 51.2 percent from 52.2 percent the previous week.

The group's seasonally adjusted measure on total mortgage applications rose to 379.2, up 5.8 percent from the prior week.

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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