Mortgage loan applications fell 8.9% last week as purchase activity cooled and demand for refinancings moves away from record levels, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA said its refinance index fell for the second-straight week after a month and a half of increases with a 10.8% drop from the week earlier. The survey accounts for the Labor Day holiday and the unadjusted figure for the week ended Sept. 10 shows an overall decline of 27.4% from the prior week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index fell 0.4%, while the unadjusted purchase index dropped 21.9% from the week earlier and is now 39.7% below the year ago. In four-week moving averages, the seasonally adjusted market index is down 0.8%, the purchase index is up 2% and the refinance index is off 1.4%. Refinancings accounted for 80.5% of all mortgage applications last week, down from 81.9% the week earlier. Interest rates for 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed mortgages fell last week and are inching away recent levels that were the lowest rates ever recorded by the MBA survey. The average rate for the 30-year fell to 4.47% from 4.5% and the 15-year decreased to 3.96% from 4%. The Mortgage Maxx weekly index, which adjusts data to reflect the number of households applying for a mortgage, fell 4.1% last week when accounting for the holiday. On an unadjusted basis, the index declined 23.3% from the week before. “As the unofficial end of summer passes and mortgage affordability crescendos, the MAX may have begun to decelerate,” MAX publisher Paul Descloux said. “The seasonal downward pressure from housing turnover is upon us… this should effectively mark the interim high for the MAX absent some unanticipated fiat decree on refinancings.” Write to Jason Philyaw.

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