Applications for U.S. home mortgages eased last week as interest rates edged up, though demand for new loans improved, an industry group said on Wednesday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 2.2 percent in the week ended November 16.
The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 3.2 percent. But the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose for the second week in a row, gaining 2.7 percent.
The refinance share of total mortgage activity remained unchanged at 81 percent of applications.
Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.54 percent, up 2 basis points from 3.52 percent the week before.
Still, rates were close to their record lows. The Federal Reserve's latest stimulus program has helped push rates down as the central bank buys mortgage-backed securities in an effort to boost the economy.
The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.
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