Mortgage application volume keeps tumbling

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Mortgage applications declined for the fourth consecutive week as interest rates remained at high levels.

The overall index fell 3% after dropping 2.6% a week ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. On an unadjusted basis, the index also fell 3% from last week.

The refinance index led the overall waning of applications by falling 5% for the week ending Aug. 3. This marks the index reaching its lowest point since December 2000. The refinance share of application activity decreased to 36.6% from 37.1% the week prior.

The purchase index fell 2% both on seasonally adjusted and unadjusted bases since last week. It was also 2% lower year-over-year.

"Despite recent data indicating a strong U.S. economy and job market, including signs of wage growth, overall mortgage applications fell," Joel Kan, the MBA's associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a press release. "Housing continues to be hampered by the lack of homes for sale and crimped affordability."

Adjustable-rate loan activity went back down to 6.3% from 6.4% of total applications. The share of applications for Federal Housing Administration-guaranteed loans stayed static at 10.4%, Veterans Affairs-guaranteed loans inched up to 10.6% from 10.5%, while U.S. Department of Agriculture/Rural Development held again at 0.8%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) held constant at 4.84%. The average for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $453,100) fell two basis points to 4.74%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA rose to 4.83% from 4.78%. The average for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased, going to 4.26% from 4.29%.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs fell to 4.07% from its historic highest point of 4.17%.

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Mortgage applications Purchase Refinance Mortgage rates Mortgage Bankers Association FHA The VA