Mortgage applications decreased 1.6% from one week earlier as refinancing activity continues to shrink, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 31 found that the refinance index decreased 4% from the previous week.

There was a 1% increase on a seasonally adjusted basis and an unadjusted basis in the purchase index over last week. Compared with the same week in 2016, the unadjusted purchase index was 8% higher.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 42.6% of total applications from 44% the previous week.

Adjustable-rate mortgage applications remained unchanged at 8.5% of the total, while the Federal Housing Administration share increased 3 basis points to 11.1% from the week prior.

There was a 1-basis-point increase in Veterans Affairs-guaranteed loan applications to 11.1%. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 1%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) increased 1 basis point to 4.34%. For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100), the average contract rate decreased 2 basis points to 4.24%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 4.15% from 4.24%, while for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, the average remained unchanged at 3.57%.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.33% from 3.3%.

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