Mortgage loan application volume fell 18.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended Dec. 17, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

Refinancings declined 24.6%. The purchase index fell 2.5% and was off 8.4% on a year-over-year basis in the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

“Refinance application volume dropped sharply this week as mortgage rates held near six month highs,” said Michael Fratantoni, the MBA’s vice president of research and economics. “Home sales are likely to remain relatively weak over the next few months.”

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage interest rate inched up to 4.85% from 4.84%, while 15-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to an average rate of 4.22% from 4.21%.

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