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U.S. mortgage activity down 9.8 percent last week

WASHINGTON, May 23 (UPI) — U.S. mortgage activity fell 9.8 percent last week with refinancing activity off sharply as long-term interest rates rose, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

The association said mortgage activity fell 9.8 percent in the week while refinancing activity dropped 12 percent in the week ending Friday.

Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate conforming mortgages increased from 3.67 percent to 3.78 percent during the week. Points for 30-year conforming loans fell from 0.41 to 0.39.

The average interest rate for 30-year contracts on jumbo loans — larger than $417,500 — rose from 3.87 percent to 3.93 percent. Points for 30-year jumbo loans rose from 0.25 to 0.36.

Interest rates for 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose from 2.88 percent to 2.96 percent, with points rising from 0.31 to 0.32.

The average rate for 30-year loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration rose from 3.43 percent to 3.53 percent with points dropping from 0.16 to 0.13.

The average rate for short-term, adjustable-rate mortgages increased in the week from 2.55 percent to 2.6 percent. Points for short-term adjustable-rate loans held steady at 0.23, the MBA said.

“Mortgage rates increased to their highest level since March last week, leading to the largest single week drop in refinance applications this year,” said MBA Vice President of Research and Economics Mike Fratantoni.

“The refinance index has fallen almost 19 percent over the past two weeks and is back to its lowest level since late March. Purchase activity declined over the week but is still running about 10 percent above last year’s pace at this time,” he said.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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