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Mortgage applications fell last week

NEW YORK CITY — The number of people applying for a mortgage fell last week as higher rates discouraged borrowing.

The Mortgage Bankers Association says its overall mortgage application index decreased 18.6 percent from the previous week. The refinance index dropped 24.6 percent, marking the sixth decline in a row. The purchase index slipped 2.5 percent last week.

Rates on fixed mortgages continued to edge up last week, remaining at the highest levels in six months. They are rising because Treasury yields have been increasing on rosier economic data and expectations that tax cuts will spur growth and spark higher inflation. Mortgage rates tend to track those yields.

Rates had been hitting decade lows almost every week since spring as investors, worried about the economy, sought less risky Treasury bonds.