Mortgage applications slow down in August

For the fifth consecutive week mortgage applications declined from the previous week, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data for the week ending Aug. 31, 2012 released today. Total applications fell 2.5 percent from the previous week, behind an unadjusted 3 percent drop in refinances. The index that tracks purchases, which is seasonally adjusted, also fell 0.8 percent, but remains 1 percent greater than where it stood this time last year. With the declines coming from both purchasers and refinancers, the latter continued to comprise 79 percent of all activity.

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Meanwhile, following a brief rise earlier in August, interest rates continued to revert to their falling ways. Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate conforming loans averaged 3.78 percent, down from 3.80 percent the previous week. Similarly termed jumbo loan interest rates fell by one-hundredth of a percentage point to 4.05 percent. Federal Housing Administration-backed 30-year fixed-rate loan interest rates stood at 3.54 percent, down from 3.60 percent. Finally, rates for 15-year fixed-rate loans slumped to 3.10 percent from 3.12 percent. — Adam Fusfeld