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US mortgage rate falls 1st time in 5 weeks

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate in the US decreased for the first time in five weeks, while mortgage applications saw a weekly gain, according to a report Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, rose 6.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending March 10, compared to the previous week. On an unadjusted basis, the index increased 7% from the previous week.

The 30-year fixed rate decreased to 6.71% last week, marking the first decline in five weeks. It previously stood at 6.79% for the week ending March 3.

“Treasury yields declined late last week, as market concerns over bank closures and the potential for broader ripple effects triggered a flight to safety in Treasury bonds,” said MBA Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist Joel Kan.

“Home-purchase applications increased for the second straight week but remained almost 40 percent below last year’s pace. While lower rates should buoy housing demand, the financial market volatility may cause buyers to pause their decisions,” he added.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 6.14%, from 6.25%, for the week.

The MBA survey covers more than 75% of all US retail residential mortgage applications.

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