There were fewer applicants for mortgages last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday, but the decline in applications for refinancings far outpaced those for purchase-only mortgages.

The MBA's Market Composite Index dropped 8.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, which included Labor Day. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 27.4%.

The Refinance Index fell 10.8% on an adjusted basis; unadjusted, it was down 27.4%. from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.4% from one week earlier and the unadjusted Purchase Index was down 21.9% sequentially and down 39.7% year-over-year.

The four-week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index was down 0.8%; the average is up 2.0% for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 80.5% of total applications from 81.9% the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.47% from 4.50%, with points increasing to 1.08 from 0.96 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans. The rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.96% from 4.00%, with points increasing to 1.03 from 0.87. The rate for one-year ARMs decreased to 6.89% from 7.00%, with points increasing to 0.23 from 0.21.