U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 24 mins

Mortgage applications inch up in latest week: MBA

Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of Portland, Oregon March 20, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages edged up last week as interest rates declined, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 0.2 percent in the week ended Aug. 21.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 1.0 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 1.7 percent.

The refinance share of total mortgage activity fell to 55.3 percent of applications from 55.5 percent the week before.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.08 percent in the week, down 3 basis points from 4.11 percent the previous week.

The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Chris Reese)