Mortgage applications to purchase homes declined 9.5 percent last week compared with the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly survey.

On an unadjusted basis, the purchase index declined 8.9 percent compared with the previous week and was 0.6 percent lower than it was the same week a year ago.

Purchase applications fell almost 10 percent in the first week following the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit, as the tax credit likely pulled some sales into April that would otherwise have occurred in May or later, said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics.

Mortgage rates were pushed down last week to the lowest level since mid-March by the turmoil in Greece. The recent plunge in rates on U.S. Treasury securities, due to a flight to quality as investors worldwide sought shelter from the Greek debt crisis, benefited US mortgage borrowers last week, Fratantoni said.

Overall, rates declined:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.96 percent from 5.02 percent;
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.32 percent from 4.34 percent;
  • 1-year ARMs decreased to 6.86 percent from 7.03 percent.