Applications for purchase mortgages hit a 19-year low last week, as demand from borrowers continued to lag despite the imminent onset of the spring homebuying season, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported. Purchase loan applications fell a seasonally adjusted 4 percent during the week ending Feb. 21 from the week before and 15 percent from the same time a year ago, to their lowest level since 1995. "his is the time of year we would expect a significant pickup in purchase activity, and we are not yet seeing it,” MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said in a statement. The weekly MBA survey is the latest indication that the housing recovery has lost some steam. Existing-home sales and pending home sales (which predict future existing-home sales) have both trended down...
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