U.S. mortgage applications rose last week

Mortgage applications rose slightly last week.

According to numbers released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) on Wednesday, July 29, the number of applications for mortgages across the United States rose slightly the week ending July 24, although this gain was not as significant as experts had projected with a drop in interest rates across the country.

The gain in volume was driven mainly by applications for refinancing loans, which rose a full 2 percent from the previous week. Mortgage applications themselves were essentially flat, according to the MBA, with a 0.1 percent rise from the week before. Purchase volume, however, is nearly 18 percent higher than it was just one year ago.

This relatively small mortgage application activity comes at a time when it is becoming more and more affordable for people to get loans and purchase a home. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.71 percent, down six basis points from the previous week.

The numbers released by the MBA cover over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, 50.6 percent of which are now made up solely of people looking to refinance.

"Although total purchase applications were little changed for the week, this resulted from a combination of a small increase for conventional purchase loans, and a decrease for government purchase loans," said Michael Fratantoni, chief economist for the MBA. "We continue to see a decline in the average size of purchase loans, further indicating that entry-level buyers are beginning to return to the market."

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