NEW YORK – New applications for U.S. home loans rose last week to their highest level since late April, even as mortgage rates increased, an industry group said on Wednesday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (search) said its seasonally adjusted market index, a measure of mortgage activity, rose by 8.2 percent to 761.7 for the week ended on Oct. 29 from the previous week's 703.9.
This is the highest level that the index has reached in nearly six months when the index was at 780.9 for the week ending April 30.
Thirty-year mortgage rates (search), excluding fees, averaged 5.65 percent, up 0.11 percentage point from the previous week, but 0.20 percentage point lower than a year ago, the Washington trade group said.
Mortgage rates are dictated by Treasury yields (search), which rose last week on a combination of factors that included a surprise rate hike from China and weaker oil prices.
Despite the uptick, mortgage rates are still at levels lower than a year ago, enticing consumers to buy or refinance homes.
The MBA's seasonally adjusted index on new refinancing applications jumped by 3.1 percent to 2,303.9 for last week from the previous week's 2,233.8.
The association's purchase index, a gauge of new loan requests for home purchases, climbed by 12.6 percent last week to 496.5 from 440.9 in the prior week.