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Mortgage apps drop

WASHINGTON -- Mortgage applications in the United States fell for the fourth time in five weeks, as a gauge of refinancing dropped to the lowest level of the year.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) applications index decreased 1.6 percent in the period ended April 4 after a 1.2 percent decline the week before, the Washington-based group said Thursday.

The refinancing gauge fell 4.9 percent to the lowest level since the period ended Dec. 27, while the measure of purchase applications rose 2.7 percent.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan held at 4.56 percent and the average on a 15-year mortgage was unchanged at 3.62 percent.

The share of applicants seeking to refinance declined to 50.7 percent, the lowest since July 2009, from 52.8 percent the prior week, the MBA’s report showed.

The measure has declined for nine straight weeks.

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