Mortgage Applications Rose Last Week

Applications for U.S. home mortgages rebounded last week, fueled by a jump in refinancing activity as interest rates pulled back, an industry group said Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 13.2 percent in the week ended Feb. 18. It was the biggest weekly jump since early October 2010.

"Ongoing turmoil in the Middle East brought interest rates lower last week. Borrowers took advantage of these lower rates, bringing application activity back near levels from two weeks ago, following sharp declines last week," Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, said in a statement.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications gained 17.8%, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases climbed 5.1%.