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Mortgage applications decreased 4.9 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 2, 2011.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 4.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 5.3 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 6.3 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2.1 percent compared with the previous week and was 13.5 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Heading into the Labor Day weekend, the 30-year rate was at its second lowest level in the history of our survey (the low point was reached last October), and the 15-year rate marked a new low in our survey,” says Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “Despite these rates however, refinance application volume fell for the third straight week, and is more than 35 percent below levels at this time last year. Purchase application volume remains relatively flat at extremely low levels, close to lows last seen in 1996.”

The four week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index is down 3.2 percent. The four week moving average is down 3.7 percent for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, while this average is down 3.1 percent for the Refinance Index.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 77.1 percent of total applications from 77.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained unchanged at 7.1 percent of total applications from the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.23 percent from 4.32 percent, with points decreasing to 1.04 from 1.29 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans. This is the second lowest 30-year rate recorded in the survey. The effective rate also decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.41 percent from 3.49 percent, with points decreasing to 0.94 from 1.00 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. This is the lowest 15-year rate recorded in the history of the survey since the beginning of January 1990. The effective rate also decreased from last week.

For more information, please visit www.mortgagebankers.org.

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