NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. mortgage application activity fell last week despite a decline in borrowing costs on 30-year home loans to their lowest levels in nearly five months, Mortgage Bankers Association data released on Wednesday showed.
The Washington-based industry group said its measure on mortgage applications decreased 1.8 percent to a reading of 395.6 in the week ended April 14. The index measured 526.8 at this time a year ago.
The average interest rate on 30-year, fixed-rate conforming mortgages, the most widely held type of U.S. home loan, decreased to 4.23 percent, the lowest level since the week of Nov. 18. The rate was 4.28 percent a week earlier.
Mortgage rates have fallen in step with U.S. Treasury yields, which hit five-month lows on Tuesday, stemming from a wave of safe-haven bids for U.S. government debt due to geopolitical tensions with Syria and North Korea, and uncertain outcome of the French presidential election on Sunday. [US/]
Doubts about the ability of U.S. President Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress to enact tax cuts and infrastructure spending while loosening regulations to boost the economy have also stoked demand for bonds.
The mortgage industry group said its seasonally adjusted gauge of application activity to buy a home, a proxy for future home sales, slumped 3.4 percent to 238.3 in the latest week. It was 240.8 a year ago.
MBA’s seasonally adjusted gauge of applications to refinance an existing home loan edged up 0.2 percent from a six-week low to 1,274.5. It was 2,177.4 a year earlier.
The refinancing share of overall mortgage activity grew to 42.6 percent from prior week’s 41.6 percent, which was the lowest since September 2008.
The share of applications for adjustable-rate mortgages dipped to 8.4 percent from 8.5 percent the preceding week.
Reporting by Richard Leong, editing by G Crosse