While home buying activity typically starts ticking up in February, the volume of applications to secure a purchase mortgage loan for a home in the U.S. dropped 18 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week and was 41 percent lower than at the same time last year, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association and which shouldn’t catch any plugged-in readers, other than the most obstinate, by surprise.

In fact, purchase mortgage activity, which is a leading indicator, has dropped to its lowest level since 1995.

Closer to home, pending home sales in San Francisco are currently down 40 percent on a year-over-year basis, representing the fewest homes in contract on a seasonally adjusted basis in over six years while inventory is on the rise.

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