Purchase-loan demand at 13-year low

Applications to refinance surge as mortgage rates ease

Applications for purchase mortgages during the week ending May 21 were down a seasonally adjusted 3.3 percent from one week earlier, to the lowest levels since April 1997, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today in releasing the results of its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

Applications for refinancings were up 17 percent, however, to the highest level since October, as borrowers sought to take advantage of falling interest rates.