The purchase index continues to weaken, down 4.0 percent in the January 31 week and down a very sizable 17 percent year-on-year. This signals weakness for underlying home sales and underscores the importance of all cash buyers in the housing market. A move lower for mortgage rates didn’t help the purchase index but did help the refinance index which rose 3.0 percent in the week. The average rate for 30-year mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) fell 5 basis points to 4.47 percent.
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