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Fewer apply for mortgages, bankers report

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Mortgage loan applications slipped lower during the past week, according the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The survey's index of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 0.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis by Dec. 3 from one week earlier.

There were also fewer applications for refinancing. The index decreased 1.4 percent from the previous week. This is the fourth weekly decrease for refinancing since the index reached its lowest level in June.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 75.2 percent of total applications from 74.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity decreased to 5.6 percent from 5.7 percent of total applications from the previous week.

The average contract interest rate increased for the second week in a row and is at the highest level since early September 2010. The effective rate also increased from last week.

The average rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.66 percent from 4.56 percent, with points decreasing to 0.95 from 0.96 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans. The average contract interest rate increased for the fourth consecutive week and is at the highest level since July 2010. The effective rate also increased from last week.

The average interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.98 percent from 3.91 percent, with points increasing to 0.97 from 0.88 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value loans.

The survey covers over 50 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.

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