Mortgage applications plunge

In yet another sign of the economic crisis, applications down 23% in the week ended Sept. 26.

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By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- In yet another sign of the economic crisis, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday that mortgage applications plunged 23% last week.

The MBA said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity dropped to 455.4 in the week ended Sept. 26, down from 591.4 the prior week.

Turmoil in the banking and finance industries has resulted in a credit freeze, making it difficult for prospective homeowners to take out loans. The market is also experiencing a glut of foreclosures.

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. government in September took over the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with a rescue plan that could inject $100 billion into each of them just to keep them afloat.

The association also reported steep declines in other weekly indexes tracking housing finance.

The refinance index plummeted 34.7% to 1333.9 from the prior week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index fell 10.9% to 304.8.

The average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages slipped to 6.07% from 6.08%, the association said.  To top of page

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