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Mortgage applications plummeted sharply during the week ending Dec. 14 as interest rates edged upward, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

The trade group released its market composite index – a measure of mortgage loan application volume – and found it down 12.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis from a week earlier. In addition, the refinance index fell 14% from the previous week, hitting its lowest level since Nov. 2. The seasonally adjusted purchase index also fell 5% from a week earlier.

Applications declined as interest rates ticked upward.

"Despite the Federal Reserve’s announcement last week that it would purchase an additional $45 billion in Treasury securities per month as part of its continuing quantitative easing effort, rates increased in the second half of the week," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics. "As a result, refinance applications dropped sharply to the lowest level in over a month."

Refinancing applications represented 83% of all filings, down from 84% a week earlier.

Rates grew with the 30-year, fixed-rate conforming mortgage increasing to 3.50% from 3.47%.

The 30-year, FRM with a jumbo balance declined to 3.73%, down from 3.77%, while the 30-year, FRM backed by the FHA grew to 3.34% from 3.32%.

Meanwhile, the 15-year, FRM declined to 2.83% from 2.85%, while the 5/1 ARM declined to 2.61% from 2.63%.

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