Residential loan applications fell by almost 3% for the week ending Dec. 16, despite continued historically low rates, according to new figures compiled by the Mortgage Bankers Association(MBA).

The trade group also noted that the market share of refinancings hit a yearly high, accounting for 80.7% of all new applications. The week prior refis accounted for 79.7% of the market.

"Continued anxiety surrounding the fragile economic situation in Europe led interest rates lower last week,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics.

“Remarkably low rates are not enough, as many homeowners continue to hold back due to lack of equity in their properties, poor credit and a weak job market."

The trade group tracks activity through its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume.

The MBA reported that the average size of a purchase money loan was $217,774 in November, compared to $213,430 in October 2011. For a refi the average increased to $220,523 from $217,153 the month prior.

During the week mortgage bankers were offering 30-year fixed-rate loans at 4.08% with half a point upfront.

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