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Weekly Applications Take Double-Digit Dip

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Mortgage application volume decreased by double digits in two weekly surveys. Mortgage Maxx’s survey, a measure of mortgage applications adjusted to reflect the number of households applied for loans, declined 10.7% for the week ending Oct. 16. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey, a measure of gross mortgage applications, was down 13.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the same week. MBA adjusted its survey for the Columbus Day holiday; Mortgage Maxx did not. However, Mortgage Maxx said not adjusting for the holiday understated activity by less than two percentage points. MBA’s refinance index was down 16.8% from the week prior and the purchase index decreased 7.6%. Refinance applications took a 65% share of total application, down from 67.4% the previous week. Adjustable-rate mortgages took a 6.4% share of volume, up from 6.2%. The seasonal slowdown in organic home sales, the cessation of further declines in rates, and the last call for the first time homebuyer credit will cause rates to decline in the coming weeks, Mortgage Maxx said. If the tax credit expires, Mortgage Maxx indicated the result may be a plunge in sales volume similar to the decrease experienced at the sunset of the Cash for Clunkers automobile credit. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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