WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Mortgage applications decreased in the United States even as mortgage rates remained low, according to a report by Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released on Wednesday.
For the week ending Nov. 15, MBA's market composite index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.2 percent from a week earlier despite lower rates.
Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting of MBA, attributed the decrease mainly to an 8 percent slide in refinance activity in the same period.
The refinance index measures the activity to replace higher rate mortgages with lower rate mortgages.
"Rates have stayed in the same narrow range of around 4 percent since July, so we may be starting to see the expected slowdown in refinancing as the pool of eligible homeowners shrinks," said Kan.
MBA's purchase index before seasonal adjustment also decreased 8 percent from the previous week. After removing the influences of predictable seasonal patterns, the seasonally adjusted purchase index increased 7 percent from a week earlier, according to MBA.
"Purchase applications were 7 percent higher than a year ago, which adds another solid data point to the recent increases in new home sales and housing starts," said Kan.
"There may be signs that housing inventory is starting to meaningfully rise, which will help with affordability and provide more choices for potential homebuyers," Kan added.