US mortgage applications slip anew; soaring rates bite

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Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week, driven by a decline in demand for refinancing loans as mortgage interest rates remained at a two-year high, 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 2.6 percent in the week ended July 12.

The MBA's gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 0.5 percent. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 4.2 percent.

Interest rates on fixed 30-year mortgages averaged 4.68 percent in the week ended July 12, unchanged from the previous week when the average reached its highest level since July 2011, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

The refinance share of total mortgage activity fell to its lowest level since April 2011, accounting for 63 percent of applications versus 64 percent the week before.

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

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