Mortgage rates climb again; loan applications slide

From Times wire reports

Americans filed fewer mortgage applications last week after the previous week’s record volume due to a drop in refinancing as mortgage rates rose for a second straight week, an industry report said Wednesday.

But the weekly volume of loan applications to buy homes reached its highest level since late November, suggesting the current U.S. housing boom still has legs.

The Mortgage Bankers Assn. of America said its weekly seasonally adjusted index gauging mortgage application activity for the week ending March 21 was down 9.1% from the prior week’s all-time high. Refinancing dropped 13.3% from the previous week’s all-time high.

Earlier in the week, the group also reported that U.S. home loans in foreclosure in the fourth quarter of 2002 hit a record high as the weak economy forced a larger portion of mortgage holders out of their homes.