U.S. mortgage applications lost momentum as mortgage rates ceased to decline further, the U.S. Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said Thursday. The association said the Market Composite Index of U.S. mortgage applications, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 21.6 percent in the week ending Dec. 28 on a seasonally adjusted basis from two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Refinance Index dipped 23.3 percent, with its share of mortgage activity shrinking to 82 percent of total applications, and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index edged down 14.8 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year mortgages remained little changed at 3.34 percent, a little higher than its record low of 3.32 percent. Fifteen-year mortgage rates were up to 2.86 percent, also not far from its record low of 2.83 percent. The record low mortgage rates have been acting as an important incentive for house refinancing and buying. With constant modest improvements recently, the U.S. housing crash is said to have reached its bottom. However, many economists hold that the market still needs years to recover entirely as the bottom will be prolonged.