U.S. mortgage refinancings, seasonally adjusted, dipped 2.8% in the week ended Aug. 13, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday. The index fell to 449.2, from 462.3 in the preceding week.

Refinancings made up 21.2% of mortgage applications, which slipped 3.3% that week.

U.S. housing starts rose 5.7% in July against a decline of 5.6% in June, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.66 million units, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Charlie Ruma, president of the National Association of Home Builders, said builders of single-family homes were expecting a slackening in buyer demand because of rising interest rates. But he added that the rise last month might be attributed to builders playing catch-up on projects delayed by shortages of key materials and skilled labor.

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