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Mortgage Applications Fall to Lowest Level This Year

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Mortgage applications reached their lowest level yet this year, as borrowers stayed away from the both purchases and refinancing activity amid relatively steady mortgage rates. According to a widely-watched survey released Wednesday morning by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the group's Market Composite Index fell 11.1 percent to 567.0 for the week ended April 25. Total applications were 14.2 percent below last year's levels, the MBA said. The application index is calibrated to March 16, 1990; a reading of 567.0 means that application activity was roughly 5.7 times greater than when the index was first established. Refinancing activity continued its recent freefall, dropping another 16.7 percent last week, the MBA said; refis fell 20.2 percent one week earlier -- meaning that refinancing activity has fallen nearly 34 percent in the past two weeks alone. Purchase activity, often seen by economists as an important directional indicator for housing, also fell last week. The MBA reported that its index of purchase applications fell 4.8 percent, marking the third straight week of declines for purchase applications. FHA purchases also fell for the second consecutive week, dropping 3.7 percent after a torrid run-up in application volume in the back half of the first quarter of 2008. Reflecting the dearth of refinancing activity, refinance share of total applications decreased to 45.7 percent of total applications from 49.2 percent the previous week, the MBA said. ARM share continued its steady decline as well, decreasing to 5.9 from 6.6 percent of total applications from the previous week. For more information, visit http://www.mortgagebankers.org.

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