US Mortgage Applications Drop
- The Bonez

Applications for US home loans fell last week as declining refinance applications outweighed an increase in purchase loans as buyers rushed to take advantage of government-insured lending programs. The Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly report on mortgage activity, issued Wednesday, showed that overall applications declined 2 percent in the week ended April 1st.

The group's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing activity was down 6.2 percent, overshadowing a 6.7 percent increase in purchase loan activity. The purchase index reached its highest level of 2011, according to the report.

Borrowers were likely drawn into the housing market by the April 1st increase in insurance premiums for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Consequently, the MBA's government purchase index increased more than ten percent to its highest level in nearly 11 months.

Interest rates edged up slightly, meanwhile, with the average rate for the 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage, the most popular US home loan, climbing from 4.92 percent to 4.93 percent.

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