Mortgage applications in the U.S. fell for a seventh straight week as higher interest rates led to a further slowdown in refinancing.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index declined 2.7 percent in the period ended March 23, the trade group reported. The refinance index decreased 4.6 percent, while the purchases gauge rose 3.3 percent.

The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan climbed to 4.23 percent, the highest since late November.