U.S. mortgage interest rates reach 6.25%, highest level since October 2008

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FILE PHOTO: Homes for sale in Washington

(Reuters) - The average interest rate on the most popular U.S. home loan climbed to its highest level since October 2008, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) data showed on Wednesday.

Rising mortgage rates are increasingly weighing on the interest-rate-sensitive housing sector as the Federal Reserve pushes on with aggressively lifting borrowing costs in order to tame high inflation.

The central bank is set to raise interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point for a third straight time later on Wednesday.

Expectations for Fed tightening have led to a surge in Treasury yields since the start of this year. The yield on the 10-year note acts as a benchmark for mortgage rates.

The average contract rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose by 24 basis points to 6.25% for the week ended Sept. 16, a level not seen since towards the end of the financial crisis and the Great Recession.

The MBA also said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 3.8 percent from a week earlier, but remained well below last year's levels. Its Refinance Index jumped 10.4% from the prior week but was down 82.7% compared with one year ago.

(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Andrew Heavens)