With pending home sales activity in the U.S. having started to slip at the end of last year, mortgage loan application volumes have slipped as well, with application volumes for purchase loans down 0.8 percent on a seasonally and holiday adjusted basis over the past two weeks, with a 30 percent drop in the absolute, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

That being said, purchase loan activity is still running 3 percent higher than at the same time last year and refinancing activity is up by 100 percent.  But keep in mind that purchase activity was running 25 percent higher on a year-over-year basis back at the start of November when the benchmark mortgage rate first slipped under 2.8 percent and the year-over-year margin has steadily declined.

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