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Mortgage applications drying up

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Mortgage applications last week dove 23 percent as banks continued to tighten their credit standards, making it tougher to qualify for loans. Last week's decline, which is seasonally adjusted and compares to one week earlier, was driven by a large drop-off in refinancing applications (-34 percent) and purchase applications (-10.9 percent), according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The group reported that its Government Purchase Index, comprised largely of FHA loan applications, fell 14.1 percent. The refinance share of applications last week dropped to 44 percent from 51.6 percent in the previous week, MBA reported, while the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share decreased from 4 percent to 3.3 percent. Interest rates on long-term loans were slightly lower, with the average rate on 30-year fixed loans dipping from 6.08 percent to 6.07 percent and the average rate on 15-year fixed loans sinking from 5.84 percent to 5.82 percent. Points that borrowers paid to attain these ...