Mortgage application activity dropped 12% in the week ending Oct. 19 as mortgage rates inched higher.

Refinancing activity fell 12.9% to 4752, the Mortgage Bankers Association said this morning., Additionally, since hitting a 3-1/2 year high at the end of September, activity is down 19%. As a percent of total application activity, refinancings slipped to 81% from 82% in the prior week.

This is not unusual behavior for the index despite mortgage rates remaining at historically low levels. It will likely take a noticeable decline below 3.36% for activity to pick up significantly again.

Rates, however, ticked up for the third straight week with the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed rate conforming loans increasing six basis points to 3.63%, while Federal Housing Administration rates rose seven basis points from their record low to 3.41%.

Meanwhile, the Purchase Index declined 8.3% to 184.2.

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