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Mortgage applications drop 4.9%

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Despite record low mortgage rates, mortgage applications fell 4.9% for the week ending Sept. 2, according to an industry trade group. The Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday its market composite index — a measure of mortgage loan application volume — fell 4.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis from a week earlier. Meanwhile, the refinance index dropped 6.3% and the purchase index declining 0.2% from a week ago. The unadjusted purchase index is 13.5% lower than a year ago and nearing a 15-year low. The average 30-year, fixed rate mortgage fell to 4.23% from 4.32%, while the average 15-year FRM decreased to 3.41% from 3.49%. "Heading into the Labor Day weekend, the 30-year rate was at its second lowest level in the history of our survey (the low point was reached last October), and the 15-year rate marked a new low in our survey," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA vice president of research and economics. "Despite these rates however, refinance application volume fell for the third straight week, and is more than 35% below levels at this time last year. Purchase application volume remains relatively flat at extremely low levels, close to lows last seen in 1996." Refinancings made up 77.1% of all loan applications, down from 77.8% a week earlier, while activity on adjustable-rate mortgages shot up 7.1%. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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