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U.S. mortgage applications fall in latest week: MBA

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. mortgage applications decreased last week as most home borrowing costs were unchanged to slightly higher, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.

The Washington-based group’s seasonally adjusted index on loan requests, both to buy a home and refinance one, fell 2.4% to 505.8 in the week ended July 5. This week’s results include an adjustment for the Fourth of July holiday.

“Borrowers have been less sensitive to low rates as many borrowers have either recently refinanced or are likely waiting for rates to fall even further,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement.

Most fixed-mortgage rates MBA tracks were unchanged to 3 basis points higher from the week before.

The exception was interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate “conforming” mortgages, or loans whose balances are $484,350 or less. They averaged 4.04% last week, lower than last week’s 4.07%.

For the week, mortgage rates moved in step with a spike in U.S. bond yields after a stronger-than-expected increase in domestic payrolls in June.

The Labor Department said on Friday that the economy added 224,000 jobs in June after adding just 75,000 jobs in May while the unemployment rate increased to 3.7% from 3.6%.

MBA’s seasonally adjusted gauge on refinancing fell 6.5 % to 1,779.7.

The refinance share of mortgage activity fell to 48.7% of total applications from 51.0% the previous week.

The group’s barometer on loan applications for home purchases, which is seen as a proxy on future housing activity, increased 2.3% to 275.6.

Reporting by Evan Sully; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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