Mortgage application activity declined 7.4% in the week ending March 16 as mortgage rates rose in response to the Federal Open Market Committee's more upbeat assessment of the economy. This muddies the odds that further quantitative easing will be required.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mortgage rates moved to their highest level since December with the contract rate for 30-year fixed-rate conforming loans averaging 4.19% compared to 4.06% in the previous report; Federal Housing Administration rates gained 11 basis points to 3.93%.

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