NEW YORK, March 12 Applications for U.S. home
mortgages fell in the latest week as interest rates edged
higher, 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, fell 2.1 percent to
373.3 in the week ended March 7.
The index hit its lowest level since December 2000 at the
end of last year, soon after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced
it would start reducing its $85 billion per month bond-buying
program as the economy grows strong enough to stand on its own.
The interest rate on fixed 30-year mortgages averaged 4.52
percent last week, up 5 basis points from the previous week.
The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing
applications fell 3.1 percent. The gauge of loan requests for
home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, fell 0.5
The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential
mortgage applications, according to MBA.
(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Leslie Adler)