WASHINGTON – Mortgage applications fell last week after interest rates edged up and consumers dialed back on refinancing.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its index of mortgage activity, which includes both refinances and purchase activity, fell 12.3% for the week ended Dec. 14 from a week earlier after adjustments for seasonal variations.

Refinances dropped 14% from the prior week to their lowest level in six weeks.

Fixed-rate, 30-year mortgages with loan balances of $417,500 or less averaged 3.50%, up from 3.47% a week earlier, while points rose to 0.44 from 0.36 for loans that cover 80% of the property’s appraised value.

The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with loan balances greater than $417,500 fell to 3.73%, the lowest rate in the roughly 22-year history of the survey, from 3.77%, while points dropped to 0.29 from 0.35.

The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration increased to 3.34% from 3.32%, while points on FHA loans rose to 0.54 from 0.51.


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