U.S. mortgage applications fell last week for the first time in three weeks, an industry trade group said on Wednesday, as a near four-year high in interest rates dissuaded consumers from taking out home loans.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity for the week to April 7 decreased 5.5 percent to 579.4 from the previous week's 612.8.
Borrowing costs on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, excluding fees, averaged 6.50 percent, up 0.01 percentage point from the previous week, its highest since the week ended June 14, 2002 when it reached 6.53 percent.
The MBA's seasonally adjusted purchase mortgage index fell 4.7 percent to 417.7 from the previous week's 438.2. The index was also below its year-ago level of 474.5.
The purchase index is considered a timely gauge on U.S. home sales.
The group's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications decreased 6.6 percent to 1,532.4 compared to 1,640.8 the previous week.