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Home loan requests up as refinancing rebounds

U.S. mortgage applications rose for the first time in a month, mostly driven by a strong rebound in home refinancings even as interest rates rose, an industry trade group figures showed on Wednesday.
/ Source: Reuters

U.S. mortgage applications rose for the first time in a month, mostly driven by a strong rebound in home refinancings even as interest rates rose, an industry trade group figures showed on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity for the week ended Dec. 2 increased 5.2 percent to 656.7, up from the previous week’s 624.1.

Borrowing costs on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, excluding fees, averaged 6.32 percent, up 0.12 percentage point from the previous week’s 6.20 percent.

It was the first increase in three weeks for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the industry benchmark. The rate was substantially above its 2005 low of 5.47 percent in late June.

The group’s seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications rose for the first time in seven weeks, climbing 7.0 percent to 1,596.4 compared to 1,484.3 in the previous week, its lowest level since late June 2004.

The MBA’s seasonally adjusted purchase mortgage index rose for a second consecutive week by 4.0 percent to 495.1 from the previous week’s 476.2. The index is considered a timely gauge on U.S. home sales.

Fixed 15-year mortgage rates averaged 5.84 percent, up from 5.72 percent the previous week. Rates on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages also increased, rising to 5.49 percent from 5.39 percent.

The MBA’s survey covers about 50 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.