U.S. mortgage applications fell last week-MBA

Oct 10 (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages felllast week as demand for refinancing eased slightly but purchaseapplications rose to their highest levels since June, anindustry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonallyadjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includesboth refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 1.2 percent inthe week ended on October 5, 2012.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancingapplications fell 2 percent, while the gauge of loan requestsfor home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 2.4percent. Despite the decline of refinance applications, theirvolume is still near three-year highs, Mike Fratantoni, MBA'svice president of research and economics, said in a statement.

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Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.56 percent in theweek, up 3 basis points from 3.53 percent the week before.Still, they remained near their lowest levels in the wake of theFederal Reserve's latest aggressive program to boost theeconomy.

In a program known as quantitative easing, or QE3, the Fedsaid in September that it will buy $40 billion inmortgage-backed securities a month until the job marketimproves.

The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residentialmortgage applications, according to MBA.

(Reporting By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian; Editing by Diane Craft)