Fewer Americans Apply for Mortgages in Latest Week

Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images Applications for U.S. home loans fell in the latest week, dropping for a third straight week, data from an industry group showed Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 2.3 percent in the week ended Nov. 15. That number reflects an adjustment for the Veteran’s Day holiday, the MBA said. On an unadjusted basis, the index fell 13 percent.

Based on the adjusted number, the index has fallen 6.7 percent over the past three weeks, a decline that has come amid continued uncertainty over when the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin to slow its stimulus program.

The Fed has said it would begin to slow its policy of buying $85 billion per month in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities when economic growth meets its targets. Strong data recently has reinforced concerns that the tapering could come soon. Previously, it was expected that those accommodative monetary policies would last into 2014.

MBA data showed 30-year mortgage rates edged up 2 basis points in the latest week, to 4.46 percent.

The refinancing index fell 6.5 percent while the purchase index, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 5.8 percent.

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

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