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Mortgage volume shows continued weak demand

Unemployment is continuing to slow mortgages and moving activity.

Unemployment is continuing to slow mortgages and moving activity.

The latest report on mortgage activity shows that while the number of homeowners moving and looking for a mortgage on a new home has increased, the demand for loans continues to be relatively slow.

According to the latest survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the number of mortgage applications for the purchases of property increased by a seasonally-adjusted 2.4 percent over the last week - and was 32.4 percent below numbers from the same week last year. However, much of that increase was due to a significant jump in government purchase applications, and not those by homeowners. Demand for conventional mortgages increased just 0.8 percent.

Mortgage activity as a whole also dropped, with total application volume dropping 0.8 percent over the past week. Demand for refinance applications decreased for the fourth straight week, dropping 1.6 percent.

The low levels of demand also took place despite low interest rates. The MBA says that the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.77 percent - a new all-time low.

Ecomists told Bloomberg that moving activity and loan demand will continue to be depressed as long as unemployment remains high. According to the Department of Labor, the unemployment rate nationwide is at 9.6 percent.