Mortgage applications dip in latest week

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Applications for U.S. home loans slipped in the latest week, although a drop in the previous week was revised to a smaller fall than previously reported, 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 1.8 percent in the week ended Nov. 8.

The index fell a revised 2.8 percent in the previous week. That drop had previously been reported at 7 percent.

The figures came against continued uncertainty over when the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin to slow its stimulus program.

The Fed is currently buying $85 billion per month in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, and recent comments from the central bank raised concerns that policymakers could taper those purchases this year. Surprisingly strong nonfarm payrolls data on Friday reinforced those concerns.

Previously, it was expected that those accommodative monetary policies would last into 2014.

MBA data showed 30-year mortgage rates edged up 12 basis points to 4.44 percent.

The refinancing index fell 2.3 percent in the latest week, and was revised to a decline of 3.9 percent in the Nov. 1 week from a previously reported fall of 7.9 percent.

The purchase index, a leading indicator of home sales, dipped 0.5 percent. That was revised to a drop of 0.7 percent in the Nov. 1 week from a previously reported fall of 5.2 percent.

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