Mortgage loan applications dropped for the fourth week in a row, down 0.8% for the week ending Sept 24, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly applications survey. Last week, the MBA reported a 1.4% decline in applications. The refinance index decreased 1.6% from the previous week, the fifth consecutive week of declines. The seasonally adjusted purchase index did increase 2.4% from last week, driven by government purchase applications. The unadjusted purchase index remained 32.4% lower than last year. The four-week rolling average for the seasonally adjusted market index dropped 3.3%. For the purchase index, the four-week average increased 1.1%, and it fell 4.2% for the four-week average on the refinance index. Refinanced mortgage activity decreased to 80.7% of the total applications, down from 81.1% last week. According to the MBA, interest rates for a 30-year fixed and the 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell again toward record lows. The 30-year FRM dropped to 4.38% from 4.44% last week, and the 15-year FRM decreased to 3.77% from 3.88%. The Mortgage Maxx weekly index, which adjusts data to reflect the number of households applying for a mortgage, fell 2.6% to 166.6 for the week ending Sept. 24. The index has averaged 173.9 the past four weeks. "[I]f post Election Day some sort of major plan emerges to push rates even lower, the MAX could indeed break from its recent trend. But as stated many times before, simply changing the tax benefit to make the mortgage deductions more valuable could accomplish the same thing with a lot less locomotion," according to the Maxx. Write to Jon Prior.