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Mortgage applications fall 4.1% as homebuyers pull back

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Mortgage applications fall 4.1% as homebuyers pull back

Mortgage rates have moved in a very narrow range throughout most of the year, so the drop last week was unlikely to make a difference to buyers who are facing bigger price gains and very few choices for homes to buy. Rates have sat below 4 percent for most of the year for both conforming and jumbo loans.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.71 percent from 3.73 percent last week, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.

“Rates edged lower last week following remarks from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that the ECB would carry on with its asset purchases for at least the next few months,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist.

Applications to refinance a home loan, which are more rate-sensitive, also fell, down 2 percent for the week, despite the lower rates. So many borrowers have already refinanced to very low rates that it may take a bigger move lower to bring them to the table again. Those who have higher rates likely have other reasons why they would not qualify for a refinance.