Mortgage loan application volume declined 1.4% during the week ended Sept. 17 on a seasonally adjusted basis as both refinancing and purchase activity fell, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.

The refinance index fell 0.9%, its third straight slip, and the purchase index dropped 3.3%.

The four-week moving average for the market index fell 2.3%, the four-week moving average for purchases gained 1.0%, and the four-week refinancing index declined 3.0%.

Interest rates for 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed mortgages fell to near-record lows. The average rate for the 30-year fell to 4.44% from 4.47%, and the 15-year declined to 3.88% from 3.96%

Steven Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics, said purchase activity is just above its lowest level of the past 13 years and refinancing activity now accounts for slightly over 80% of all new mortgage activity.

“Home buying is relatively moribund, remaining well below both its tax-credit-fueled April level and its year-ago level, and near its lowest level of the past 13 years,” Wood said in a research note. “Refinancing activity has soared since the end of April as home buyers have been aggressively taking advantage of low mortgage rates.”

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