Low mortgage rates are failing to entice home buyers, whose activity declined for the third straight week according to the Mortgage Bankers' Association. Purchase applications for home mortgages fell a seasonally adjusted 3.0 percent in the August 25 week following 2 percent declines in the two prior weeks. Unadjusted, the purchase index decreased 5 percent from the prior week, taking it to a level only 4 percent higher than in the same week a year ago, well off the 8 plus percent gains seen in previous weeks this year. Applications for refinancing fell 2 percent from the prior week, with the refinance share of mortgage activity rising by 1.2 percentage points to 49.4 percent. The average interest rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages ($424,100 or less) fell 1 basis point 4.11 percent, the lowest rate since November 2016. Three weeks of falling purchase applications is a worrisome development for the housing market, which may be accelerating its retreat from expansion highs, especially following the evidence of July weakness submitted in last week's housing data, showing monthly declines in sales for both new and existing homes.