Applications for U.S. home mortgages gained last week after seven straight weeks of declines, helped by a jump in purchase demand as interest rates retreated, 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, rose 4.8 percent in the week ended March 30.
The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications climbed 4.0 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases jumped 7.2 percent.
"Applications to buy a home picked up last week, and are running more than two percent above the level reported at this time last year," Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, said in a statement.
"Home purchase applications for conventional loans are now about 10 percent above last year's level."
The refinance share of total mortgage activity slipped to 71.2 percent of applications from 71.9 percent the week before.
Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.16 percent, dropping 7 basis points from 4.23 percent after two weeks of sharp increases.
The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.
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