NEW YORK, Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:04am EST
Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of Portland, Oregon March 20, 2014. Would-be buyers risk being crowded out by the run-up in home prices and mortgage rates over the past year.
Credit: Reuters/Steve Dipaola
NEW YORK, (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose last week as mortgage rates continued to slide, bringing activity to a 17-month high for a second straight week, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 14.2 percent in the week ended Jan. 16.
The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications jumped 22.3 percent to 2,746.1.
The gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, dipped 2.5 percent after reaching its highest level since September 2013 earlier this month.
Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.8 percent in the week, the lowest level since May 2013, down from 3.89 percent in the previous week.
The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.
(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Leslie Adler)