Applications for U.S. home mortgages tumbled for a second week in a row last week as interest rates continued to climb to seven-month highs, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 7.1 percent in the week ended March 15.
The index of refinancing applications dropped 8 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, slipped 3.9 percent.
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The refinance share of total mortgage activity fell to 75 percent of applications from 76 percent the week before.
Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.82 percent, up 1 basis point. It was the highest level since last August, shortly before the Federal Reserve launched its latest stimulus program of buying mortgage-backed securities.
The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.