WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. mortgage applications last week inched up as fixed mortgage rates hit new historical lows, said the latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released Wednesday by the U.S. Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
The association said that the Market Composite Index of U.S. mortgage applications, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, climbed 4.5 percent in the week ending Nov. 30, 2012 on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week.
The Refinance Index edged up 6 percent from the previous week, with its share of mortgage activity holding unchanged at 81 percent of total applications. While the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index advanced 0.1 percent from a week earlier.
The average contract interest rates for 30-year and 15-year dipped to 3.34 percent and 2.86 percent, respectively, both of which were running at the all-time lows.
The record low mortgage rates have been playing as an important incentive to house refinancing and buying. With constant modest improvement recently, the U.S. housing crash is said to have reached the bottom. However, many economists hold that the market still needs years to recover entirely as the bottom will be prolonged.