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The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) increased to 7.70% from 7.67%. Applications for a mortgage to purchase a home dropped 6% week-to-week and were 21% lower than the same week one year ago. Applications to refinance a home loan dropped 10% for the week and were 12% lower than one year ago. Mortgage rates last week rose for the sixth straight week, causing demand for