Overall mortgage applications increased 2.3 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest survey.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 6.4 percent to 465.7 from 437.6 the previous week, whereas the refinance index decreased by 3.4 percent to 1,798.8 from 1,862.8 one week earlier.

“Last week, home purchase applications dropped below their 2004 level for the first time in six months,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s vice president of Research and Economics. “Despite a 6.4 percent increase over the previous week, home purchase applications remain 3.6 percent below their level in early November, 2004.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 41.7 percent of total applications from 43.6 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate-mortgage share of activity increased to 31.6 percent of total applications from 29.4 percent the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.31 percent from 6.21 percent one week earlier. Points including the origination fee increased to 1.37 from 1.27 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.85 percent from 5.75 percent. Points including the origination fee increased to 1.36 from 1.27 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

The average contract interest rate for one-year adjustable-rate mortgages increased to 5.45 percent from 5.39 percent one week earlier. Points including the origination fee decreased to 0.96 from 0.99 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

Washington, D.C.-based Mortgage Bankers Association is a national association representing the real estate finance industry. The survey covers approximately 50 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.

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