Mortgage applications fell 1.2% this past week as refinancing activity declined, an industry trade group said Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its market composite index – a measure of loan application volume – declined 1.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from a week earlier. The drop occurred as the refinance index fell 4% from the previous week, reaching its lowest level since July 29. Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted purchase index increased 8.2% from the previous week as more home purchases were recorded. "Purchase applications increased last week, returning to levels from before the Veteran's Day holiday," said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics. "However, purchase activity remains almost 5% below last year's level. Overall, refinance activity dropped for the week, but there was an increase in refinance applications for government loan programs." The refinance share of mortgage activity fell to 75.9% of total applications, compared to 77.3% from the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity fell to 5.7% from 6.1% of total applications from the previous week. The government share of refinancing activity increased to 12.3% of all refinance applications in October, the highest monthly average since January when the MBA began tracking this trend. Looking at mortgage rates, the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a conforming loan limit of $417,500 sat at 4.23%, while the average 30-year, FRM on a jumbo loan rose to 4.59% from 4.56% last week. The average rate on a 30-year, FRM backed by the FHA grew to 4.05% from 4.03%. In addition, the average contract interest rate for the 15-year, FRM increased to 3.58% from 3.54%. In addition, the 5/1 ARM remained mostly unchanged, falling slightly to 3% from 3.01%. Write to Kerri Panchuk.