New applications for U.S. home loans fell last week even as average 30-year mortgage rates decreased from the previous week, an industry group said on Wednesday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted market index, a measure of mortgage activity, fell 0.8 percent to 703.9 for the week ended on Oct. 22, from the previous week's 709.9.
Thirty-year mortgage rates, excluding fees, averaged 5.54 percent, down 0.10 percentage point from the previous week and 0.29 percentage point lower than a year ago, the Washington trade group said.
Treasury yields, which lenders use to set mortgage rates, have eased in recent days amid fears that soaring oil prices will slow the economy.
The MBA's seasonally adjusted index on new refinancing applications rose by 3.6 percent to 2,233.8 for last week from the previous week's 2,155.2.
Last week was the second week in a row that the refinancing index has risen. The refinancing index is below its year-ago level of 2311.8.
The refinancing share of total new applications for last week was 47.7 percent, up from the prior week's 45.6 percent, the group said.
The association's purchase index, a gauge of new loan requests for home purchases, fell by 4.4 percent last week to 440.9 from 461.4 in the prior week.