Buyers looking to take out new financing or refinance their mortgage are still few and far between in the real estate market, as the crisis stemming from the subprime mess continues to slog on, dragging down the U.S. economy.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said in a report this week that the number of mortgage applications filed last week had decreased a seasonally adjusted 28.7% compared with the week prior. Thirty year fixed mortgage rates were averaging a 5.75%, up just a tick from the previous week's 5.74% average.

Though the real estate market has been hit particularly hard in the latest downturn of the economy, Congress is moving toward taking legislative action to help bail out the thousands of Americans in need of help. Leaders in the Senate reached a bi-partisan agreement last week on how they should proceed with the housing bill as legislators rush to get aid to Americans as quickly as they can.

The bill in current form would reduce the principal on mortgages from taking into account the decreased value of homes, which have already fallen 10% across the country. Legislators are anxious to get legislation passed to save the number of Americans who are facing foreclosure.

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