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A Pullback in Mortgage Demand

Mortgage applications decreased 2.5 percent compared to the previous week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 1, 2019. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 10 percent compared with the previous week, while the Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week.

The volume of refinance loan applications decreased 3 percent from the week prior while the unadjusted Purchase Index increased 11 percent compared with the previous week and was 1 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.4 percent of total applications. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.6 percent the week prior.

"Slightly higher mortgages rates last week led to a decrease in application volume. Furthermore, the average loan size for purchase applications increased to a record high, led by a rise in the average size of conventional loans. This suggests that move-up and higher-end buyers have so far become a greater share of the spring market," said Mike Fratantoni, SVP and Chief Economist at MBA. Fratantoni also pointed out that overall, conventional purchase loans are up 2.1 percent relative to last year, indicating that “homebuyers continue to be inspired by the stable rate environment and the modest increase in housing supply."

Here’s how the average contract interest rates performed for various loans:

  • The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 40.0 percent of total applications from 40.4 percent the previous week.
  • For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances increased to 4.67 percent from 4.65 percent.
  • The rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances decreased to 4.41 percent from 4.40 percent the week prior.
  • The average FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.66 percent from 4.64 percent the week prior.
  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.08 percent from 4.00 percent.
  • The rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 4.08 percent from 3.95 percent.

About Author: Donna Joseph

Donna Joseph is a Dallas-based writer who covers technology, HR best practices, and a mix of lifestyle topics. She is a seasoned PR professional with an extensive background in content creation and corporate communications. Joseph holds a B.A. in Sociology and M.A. in Mass Communication, both from the University of Bangalore, India. She is currently working on two books, both dealing with women-centric issues prevalent in oppressive as well as progressive societies. She can be reached at [email protected]

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