Mortgage applications rise 1.3 percent last week

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NEW YORK (AP) — Applications for home loans edged up last week as mortgage rates continued to hover near the lowest level in decades.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday that overall applications rose 1.3 percent from a week earlier. Applications to refinance home loans increased 1.3 percent, and those to purchase homes rose 1.5 percent. The numbers are seasonally adjusted.

Mortgage rates have remained at or near record lows since mid-April. Investors fearful of European debt problems have poured money into safer U.S. Treasury bonds. That’s lowered the yield on Treasurys. Mortgage rates tend to track that yield.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan fell to 4.60 percent last week from 4.69 percent a week earlier, according to the trade group’s report. The rate for a 15-year fixed loan slipped to 4.03 percent from 4.12 percent a week earlier.

Refinance applications made up 78 percent of total applications, unchanged from a week earlier.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s survey covers more than 50 percent of all applications nationwide.