Mortgage Applications Volume Declines 3.9 Percent, MBA Says

Mortgage ApplicationsEven though mortgage rates are still considerably lower than they were one year ago, mortgage applications took another dip in the most recent Mortgage Bankers Association Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, and the refinance share of applications also reached its lowest level since October 2014.

The Market Composite Index, which covers combined purchase and refinance applications, decreased by 3.9 percent week-over-week with seasonality taken into account. Without seasonal adjustment, the index had dropped by 4 percent from the previous week.

The Refinance Index was down 5 percent from the prior week’s report. The Purchase Index, on the other hand, fell 2 percent without seasonality, and 1 percent without seasonality. The unadjusted Purchase Index, however, was 1 percent higher than it was around same time one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage applications continued to fall below the 70 percent mark, a threshold it had breached just earlier in the year. From 60 percent in the previous week’s report, refinances took up only 59 percent of all mortgage applications for the week ended March 13. This is the lowest level on record since October 2014. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of applications was also down, slipping to only 5.5 percent of total applications.

Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages ticked upwards from a 14 percent share last week to 14.3 percent this week. Department of Veteran’s Affairs mortgages were down from 10.8 percent to 10.3 percent, while United States Department of Agriculture mortgage applications moved up from 0.8 percent last week to 0.9 percent this week.

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Mortgage interest rates were down slightly for most popular types of mortgages in the MBA report. The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming balances of $417,000 or less ticked down two basis points from 4.01 percent to 3.99 percent. Rates for 30-year jumbo FRMs, or loans with balances greater than $417,000, were down from 4.02 percent to 3.94 percent, a decrease of eight basis points.

30-year fixed mortgages backed by the FHA fell six basis points from 3.80 percent to 3.74 percent. 15-year FRMs were down by just a hundredth of a percentage point, retreating from 3.29 percent to 3.28 percent. Lastly, the average rate for 5/1 ARMs fell a considerable 19 basis points from 3.18 percent to 2.99 percent.

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