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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 [1]'s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey [2] 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: