August 30, 2017 / 2:07 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. purchase mortgage activity hits six-month low - MBA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. mortgage applications to buy a home fell last week to the their lowest level in more than six months, even as some home borrowing costs fell to their lowest since November, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.

The Washington-based group’s seasonally adjusted index on purchase mortgage activity, a proxy on future home sales, declined by 2.7 percent to 224.1 in the week ended Aug. 25. This was the weakest reading since 216.9 in the week of Feb. 17.

Domestic home sales have cooled on a persistent shortage of properties for sale. Turnover of existing homes fell to an 11-month low in July, while sales of new homes hit a seven-month low. [nL2N1LA0JW] [nL2N1L90SA]

Last week, the average interest rate on conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 4.11 percent, a fresh nine-month low, from 4.12 percent the prior week, the MBA said.

Conforming loans are those with balances of $424,100 or less that qualify for guarantees from federal mortgage agencies Fannie Mae (FNMA.PK) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.PK).

The average rate on 15-year mortgages fell to 3.36 percent, the lowest since November, from 3.40 percent the prior week.

Average rates on other types of home loans that the MBA tracks were little changed.

Steady to lower borrowing costs did not spur refinancing activity last week.

MBA’s seasonally-adjusted gauge on refinancing activity fell 2.0 percent to 1,430.3.

The refinancing share of total mortgage applications grew to 49.4 percent for 48.7 percent the previous week.

The MBA’s barometer on total mortgage applications adjusted for seasonal factors declined by 2.3 percent to 407.2.

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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