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    In many ways, Zillow was one of the leaders in the online real estate revolution, helping to democratize the home buying process and enabling prospective buyers to search for their next home from the comfort of their current home. And now, Zillow wants to revolutionize the way that people sell their homes as well, as the online real estate giant announced this week that it is launching a pilot program called “Zillow Instant Offers.” Click the headline to read more.

Mortgage applications drop 9.6% as refinancing surge dies down

The number of mortgage applications filed by Americans fell 9.6% this past week after experiencing a dramatic surge in volume on low interest rates and refinancing activity. The Mortgage Bankers Association's market composite index – a measure of loan volume – fell 9.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis from a week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the index fell 10% from the previous week. Refinancing activity, which buoyed loan application levels in recent weeks, died down with the refinance index falling 12.2% from a week ago. The seasonally adjusted purchase index, meanwhile, grew a slight 0.9%. "Accounting for the increase in average points paid, effective mortgage rates were little changed last week.  Refinance application volume declined for a second week from recent highs, despite rates staying near a 10-month low, while purchase volume remained near 15-year lows," said Mike Fratantoni, vice president of research and economics for the MBA. The refinance share of mortgage activity remained high at 77.8% of total applications, down from 79.8% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased to 7.1% from 6.2% of total applications a week ago. Mortgage rates continued to fall with the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropping to 4.32% from 4.39%. The average rate for the 15-year, FRM decreased to 3.49% from 3.56%. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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