Mortgage Applications Rise, Led by Home Purchases

Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose last week as both purchase and refinancing applications increased, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 1.9 percent in the week ended July 4.

HUD Nominee Julian Castro Clears a Major Hurdle

A U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday approved San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, clearing the way for a final vote in the full Senate. If confirmed in the post, as expected, Castro would be in position to push the Obama administration’s plan to wind down mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an effort that has stalled in Congress.