Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell for a second straight week as both refinancing and loan requests for new mortgages eased last week, 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, was 1.7 percent lower in the week ended February 15.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 1.6 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, dropped 1.7 percent.

The refinance share of total mortgage activity fell to 77 percent of applications, the lowest level since May 2012, from 78 percent the week before.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.78 percent in the week, up 3 basis points from 3.75 percent the week before.

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

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Leslie Adler)