US mortgage applications rise, rates near lows-MBA

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NEW YORK, Nov 14 (Reuters) U.S. mortgage applications rose last week, with demand hitting its highest level in nearly a year as interest rates hovered near recent lows, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications for the week ended Nov.

9 increased 5.5 percent to 707.3, its highest since the week ended Dec. 8, 2006, when it touched 721.2.

Borrowing costs on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, excluding fees, averaged 6.19 percent, up 0.03 percentage point from the previous week. Two weeks prior, interest rates reached 6.15 percent, the lowest since the week ended May 11, when they stood at 6.13 percent.

Interest rates were above its year-earlier level of 6.15 percent.

Demand for both home purchase and refinancing loans rose last week.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted purchase index rose 4.8 percent to 432.6. The index came in above its year-earlier level of 412.9. The purchase index is considered a timely gauge of U.S. home sales.

The group's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications increased 6.4 percent to 2,315.7.

REUTERS BJR ND1739

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