Mortgage Applications Rose Last Week as U.S. Refinancing Climbed

Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Mortgage applications increased last week as Americans took advantage of falling interest rates to refinance their loans.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index rose 1.4 percent in the period ended Aug. 15 after declining 2.7 percent in the prior period, the Washington-based trade group reported today.

The refinancing gauge climbed 2.7 percent, while the measure of purchase applications dropped 0.4 percent, its third straight weekly decrease.

The share of applicants seeking to refinance rose to 55.1 percent, the highest level since the period ended March 14, from 54 percent the week before, today’s report showed.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan was 4.29 percent, down from 4.35 percent the week before and the lowest level in seven weeks. The average rate on a 15-year mortgage fell to 3.44 percent from 3.48 percent, its biggest drop since the end of June.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Stilwell in Washington at vstilwell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Carlos Torres at ctorres2@bloomberg.net