Declining mortgage rates caught the flagging attention of home buyers in the September 1 week, with purchase applications for home mortgages rising by 1 percent from the prior week following 3 weeks of declines. The modest increase put the Purchase Index 5 percent above the level a year ago. Lower rates were a bigger enticement to home owners, whose refinancing activity rose 5 percent in the week. The refinancing share of mortgage activity continued to rise, increasing by 1.5 percentage points to 50.9 percent of total applications, the highest level since January 2017. The average interest rate on 30-year fixed rate conforming mortgages ($424,100 or less) fell 5 basis points to 4.06 percent, the lowest level since November 2016. The week's uptick in purchase applications keeps alive hopes that cheaper financing could still energize the housing market after a lackluster spring and summer.