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  • Purchase applications for home mortgages fell a seasonally adjusted 2 percent in the August 3 week, posting the fourth weekly decline in a row, while applications for refinancing fell 5 percent to their lowest level since December 2000. Unadjusted, purchase applications were 2 percent below the level a year ago.
  • The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased by 0.5 percentage points to 36.6 percent.
  • Mortgage rates were steady, with the average interest rate for 30-year fixed rate conforming mortgages ($453,100 or less) remaining unchanged from the prior week at 4.84 percent. Higher interest rates are taking their toll on mortgage activity and the 2 percent year-on-year decline in purchase applications does not bode well for a housing market already showing little life.

The MBA mortgage application index is weekly, thus it's a bit noisy. Nonetheless, it's pretty clear what's happening: Home prices are unaffordable and the Fed is hiking. Refinancing makes no sense.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock