Purchase applications for home mortgages rose sharply by a seasonally adjusted 7 percent in the July 6 week, but applications for refinancing continued their decline, falling 4 percent to the lowest level since December 2000. Unadjusted, purchase applications were 8 percent higher than a year ago, making a strong comeback after the prior week's negative year-on-year reading. The refinancing share of mortgage activity fell 2.4 percentage points to the lowest level since August 2008, 34.8 percent. Mortgage rates eased lower in the week, with the average interest rate for 30-year fixed rate conforming mortgages ($453,100 or less) decreasing by 3 basis points to 4.76 percent. The week's results included adjustments for the Fourth of July holiday.