Applications for U.S. home loans fell for a second straight week as higher interest rates reduced refinancing activity, an industry group reported Wednesday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 4.6 percent in the week ended Aug. 16.
The decline came as 30-year mortgage rates rose 12 basis points to 4.68 percent, matching the year's high first hit in July.
Interest rates spiked in late May after the Federal Reserve signaled it could begin scaling back its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases by the end of the year, with investors now betting it could happen as soon as September.
Prospects of the Fed tapering its stimulus has made financial markets jittery. This week, U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury yields hit a two-year high of 2.9 percent, more than a percentage point above their level in May.