Despite an easing in mortgage rates, the number of new home loan applications continued to decline last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest survey. The market composite index -- a measure of total home loan volume -- was down 4 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before. The index that tracks refinancings fell 4.2 percent during the period, and the purchase loan index dropped 4 percent. Borrowing costs on long-term loans sank considerably, with the average contract interest rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declining to 6.41 percent from 6.49 percent and the 15-year fixed rate slipping to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent. The average rate on the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), however, soared to 6.51 percent from 5.84 percent a week earlier. Points, which are loan-processing fees expressed as a percent of the total loan amount, averaged 1.48 on the 30-year loans, 1.19 on the 15-year, and 1 on one-year ARMs. Thes...
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