Mortgage loan application volume in the U.S. ticked up 6 percent over the past week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But with the benchmark 30-year mortgage rate back under 3 percent and nearing its all-time low, the uptick was driven by applications to refinance.

And in fact, while refinancing activity increased 9 percent last week, purchase mortgage activity actually slipped another (1) percent to a 14-month low and remains 18 percent lower than at the same time last year.

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