Home mortgage applications slumped at year-end, as new applications fell for a third straight week and refinancing declined to its lowest level since April.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported in its Weekly Mortgage Application Survey that its seasonally adjusted index of loan application volume fell 21.6% for the two-week period that ended Dec. 28.

The group's refinance index fell 23.3% from the week that ended Dec. 14. The refinancing share of mortgage activity remained unchanged from mid-December, at 82% of total applications.

The index of mortgage requests for home purchases fell 14.8% from to week that ended Dec. 14.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances increased to 3.52% from 3.51%, and the average rate for loans over $417,500 fell to 3.75% from 3.77%.

Because of the holidays, this week's survey covered two weeks of data. The association tracks 75% of all U.S. retail and consumer mortgages.

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