Refinances Drop for Fifth Week

Refinance applications continue their decline, as interest rates rise slowly but steadily. The refinance index fell 0.7 percent for the week ending Dec. 10, while the new mortgage purchase index dropped 8.6 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association survey. The average 30-year fixed-rate interest rate for mortgages under contract increased to 4.84 percent from 4.66 percent, the highest since May 2010. While some economists have suggested that increasing interest rates will help goose new home purchases, this week's decline suggests that assessment is anything but sure.