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Refinancing demand still sliding

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. applications to refinance homes fell for the ninth consecutive week and hit the lowest level in more than a year, a mortgage industry group said Wednesday.

An index measuring refinancing demand fell 8.6 percent to 1,981.5 in the week ended Aug. 29, its ninth consecutive week of declines, and its lowest level since the week ended June 14, 2002, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.

Applications for mortgages to buy homes rose 5.5 percent last week to 396.1, its highest level since the week ended Aug. 8, as consumers rushed to beat rising mortgage rates.

That rise came even as the average 30-year mortgage rate rose 0.03 percentage points to 6.25 percent.

The decline in refinancing applications helped drag the overall level of mortgage applications down by 1.6 percent, bringing the group's market index to 628.7.

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