Mortgage application activity fell 4.2% in the week ending March 19 due to a decline in refinancing activity as mortgage rates backed up.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported that the Refinance Index dropped 7.1% to ~2746 as the average contract rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages jumped 10 basis points to 5.01%. 

As a percent of total application activity, refinancing share declined to 65% from 67.3% in the previous week. The MBA noted this was the lowest refinance share since the last week of October 2009.

Meanwhile, the Purchase Index increased 2.7% to ~227 as homebuyers take advantage of the tax credit before it expires on April 30.

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