Mortgage Applications Climb in First Week of 2012

Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose in the first week of the year as demand for both purchases and refinancing perked up, 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 4.5 percent in the week ended Jan 6.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications gained 3.3 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases climbed 8.1 percent.

The refinance share of total mortgage activity eased to 80.8 percent of applications from 81.9 percent the previous week.

The improvement in demand came even as interest rates rose. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.11 percent in the week, up 4 basis points from 4.07 percent.

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