Interest rates eased but a drop in refinancing activity pushed mortgage applications down a seasonally adjusted 1.5 percent during the week ending Aug. 15 compared to the preceding week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. The MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey showed a 3.7 percent decline in refinance applications from the previous week and a 0.7 percent decrease in conventional purchase applications. Applications for government purchase loans -- largely FHA-guaranteed mortgages -- increased 0.2 percent. Total mortgage application volume was down 34.2 percent from a year ago, the survey said. The refinance share of mortgage applications decreased to 34.8 percent, from 35.2 percent the previous week, while adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans accounted for 8 percent of total applications, up from 7.3 percent the previous week.The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 6.47 percent from 6.57 percent, with points decreasing to 1.1 from 1.1...
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