Mortgage applications fell last week after interest rates edged up and consumers dialed back on refinancing.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday its index of mortgage activity, which includes both refinances and purchase activity, fell 12.3% for the week ended Dec. 14 from a week earlier after adjustments for seasonal variations.

Refinances dropped 14% from the prior week to their lowest level in six weeks.

Fixed-rate, 30-year mortgages with loan balances of $417,500 or less averaged 3.50%, up from 3.47% a week earlier, while points rose to 0.44 from 0.36 for loans that cover 80% of the property's appraised value.

The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with loan balances greater than $417,500 fell to 3.73%, the lowest rate in the roughly 22-year history of the survey, from 3.77%, while points dropped to 0.29 from 0.35.

The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration increased to 3.34% from 3.32%, while points on FHA loans rose to 0.54 from 0.51.

"Despite the Federal Reserve's announcement last week that it would purchase an additional $45 billion in Treasury securities per month as part of its continuing quantitative easing effort, rates increased in the second half of the week," Mike Fratantoni, the association's vice president of research and economics, said in a news release. "As a result, refinance applications dropped sharply to the lowest level in over a month."

The survey covers more than 75% of all U.S. residential mortgage applications.

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