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Mortgage apps drop

WASHINGTON-- Mortgage applications in the United States declined for the fifth time in the past six weeks, as fewer Americans bought homes and refinanced their properties.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index decreased 1.2 percent in the week that ended March 14, the Washington-based trade group reported Wednesday.

The purchase gauge fell 0.9 percent. A measure of refinancing dropped 1.3 percent.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan was 4.50 percent last week compared with 4.52 percent in the prior period.

The average rate on a 15-year mortgage was little changed at 3.52 percent after 3.53 percent.

The share of applicants seeking to refinance decreased to 56.5 percent, the lowest since April 2010, from 56.7 percent the week earlier.

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