* U.S. 30-year conforming loan rate holds near 3-year peak
* Some mortgage rates rise last week despite lower bond
* Share of variable-rate loan requests largest since Oct.
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NEW YORK, March 22 U.S. mortgage application
activity fell from a nearly four-month peak as borrowing costs
on 30-year home loans held at their highest level almost three
years, Mortgage Bankers Association data released on Wednesday
The Washington-based industry group said its measure on
mortgage applications fell 2.7 percent to 406.8 in the week
ended on March 17. Last week, it was 418.1, which was the
highest level since 460.30 in the week ended on Nov. 18.
Average interest rates on 30-year, fixed-rate conforming
mortgages, the most widely held type of U.S. home loan, held for
a second week at 4.46 percent, a level last seen in April 2014.
Conforming loans are those with balances of $424,100 or less
and that qualify for guarantees from federal mortgage agencies
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Rates on conforming 30-year loans were steady despite a
decline in benchmark U.S. Treasury yields following
the Federal Reserve's assurance after a two-day policy meeting
that it still planned to raise rates gradually.
Mortgage rates on some fixed-rate home loans that the MBA
tracks increased from the preceding week. The 30-year rate on
loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration averaged 4.33
percent, the highest since January 2014.
The group's seasonally adjusted gauge of applications to
refinance an existing home loan fell 3.3 percent to 1,366.1.
Last week, it reached 1,413.3, the highest since the week ended
on Dec. 16.
The share of refinancing applications slipped to 45.1
percent from 45.6 percent the previous week, MBA said.
The MBA's seasonally adjusted gauge of purchase application
activity, a proxy for future home sales, decreased 2.1 percent
to 235.3. Last week, it was 240.3, the highest since the week
ended on Jan. 20.
The share of applications for adjustable-rate mortgages grew
to 9.0 percent, its largest since October 2014.
(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)