Mortgage Applications in U.S. Rose 0.9% Last Week on Refinancing

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Mortgage applications in the U.S. climbed for the third consecutive week as a drop in interest rates spurred refinancing.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s applications index increased 0.9 percent in the period ended May 16 after a 3.6 percent gain the week before, the Washington-based group said today. The refinancing gauge jumped 3.8 percent to the highest level since the week ended March 14. The purchase-applications measure fell 2.8 percent.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan declined to 4.33 percent last week, the lowest since November, from 4.39 percent the prior week. The average on a 15-year mortgage fell to 3.43 percent from 3.48 percent.

The share of applicants seeking to refinance climbed to 52 percent, the highest level since March, from the prior week’s 50.3 percent, today’s report showed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorraine Woellert in Washington at lwoellert@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Carlos Torres at ctorres2@bloomberg.net Vince Golle, Mark Rohner