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Mortgage apps climbed

WASHINGTON -- Mortgage applications in the United States increased for the first time in four weeks, as a decline in borrowing costs spurred home purchases and refinancing.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) index climbed 9.4 percent in the period ended Feb. 28, the Washington-based trade group reported Wednesday.

The purchase gauge rose 9.4 percent from the lowest level since 1995, and the refinance measure increased 9.6 percent.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan fell to 4.47 percent from 4.53 the prior week. The average rate on a 15-year mortgage fell to 3.52 percent from 3.56 percent in the prior period.

The share of applicants seeking to refinance dropped to 57.7 percent from 58.3 percent the week earlier.

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