Overall mortgage applications fell 3.7 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before, taking the Mortgage Bankers Association’s purchase loan index to a 2-1/2-year low, the group reported today.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 4.4 percent to 389.4 from 407.4 the previous week and is now at its lowest level since Nov. 7, 2003. The refinance index decreased by 2.4 percent to 1,489.4 from 1,526.1 one week earlier. Both the purchase and refinance indices have declined in each of the last three weeks, according to the MBA.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 36.7 percent of total applications from 36.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate-mortgage share of activity decreased to 28.2 percent of total applications from 28.9 percent the previous week. 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 6.53 percent from 6.56 percent. Points including the origination fee remained at 1.1 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans. 

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 6.18 percent from 6.19 percent, with points including the origination fee decreasing to 1.11 from 1.22 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans. 

The average contract interest rate for one-year adjustable-rate mortgages decreased to 5.96 percent from 6 percent. Points including the origination fee decreased to 0.82 from 0.86 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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