NEW YORK – Mortgage application volume fell 2.7% in the week ended March 23, as refinancings plunged 4.6%, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

Refinancings have fallen for six straight weeks, and are at their lowest level since December. The seasonally adjusted purchase index rose 3.3%.

The four-week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index is down 3.40%. The four-week seasonally adjusted purchase index moving average is up 2.14%, while this average is down 4.94% for the refinance index.

Refinances accounted for 71.9% of all mortgage applications, the lowest level since July 2011, and off from 73.4% the week before. Adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 5.4% of volume from 5.6% a week earlier.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) increased to 4.23%, the highest rate since November 2011, from 4.19%.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.50%, the highest rate since December 2011, from 3.47%.

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