Even as mortgage rates linger at historic lows, mortgage applications fell for the fourth consecutive week. Application numbers dropped 0.8 percent for the week ending Sept. 24, according the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, after falling 1.4 percent the week before. Refinancing applications also suffered: MBA's refinance index decreased 1.6 percent, the fifth week in a row that the indicator registered a decline. Purchase applications have gone up a bit since July, but remain at levels comparable to the 1996-1997 period. As a result, it is unlikely that fall home sales figures will be any better than the depressed rate of this past August.