Mortgage applications for the week ending Oct. 31 fell a seasonally-adjusted 20.3 percent from the previous week and were off 43.4 percent from the same time a year ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today.

Mortgage applications for the week ending Oct. 31 fell a seasonally adjusted 20.3 percent from the previous week and were off 43.4 percent from the same time a year ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today.

The MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey showed applications for refinance loans taking the biggest hit, falling 27.8 percent from a week ago. Applications for conventional purchase loans fell a more modest 14.4 percent, while applications for government purchase loans (largely FHA) were down 12.8 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage applications fell to 42.9 percent, down from 46.9 percent a week ago. The percentage of applications that were for adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans rose to 2.5 percent, compared with 1.9 percent a week ago.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.47 percent from 6.26 percent, with points including the origination fee increasing to 1.19 from 1.1 for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.14 percent from 6.01 percent, with points increasing to 1.22 from 1.15 for 80 percent LTV loans.

The average contract interest rate for one-year ARMs decreased to 6.86 percent from 6.9 percent, with points increasing to 0.42 from 0.21 for 80 percent LTV loans.

The MBA today also released the results of a survey of mortgage originations for the first six months of 2008, which showed purchase originations fell 16.2 percent compared to the last half of 2007. Fixed-rate loans (excluding interest-only loans) accounted for 78.5 percent of all first mortgages, compared with 63.6 percent in the second half of 2007.

Refinance originations were up 16.3 percent, and the refinance share of all originations increased from 54.8 percent in the last six months of 2007 to 61.7 percent.

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