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Mortgage Applications Slip Again

Mortgage applications declined 2.6 percent from a week earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis according to data from the MBA Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released on Wednesday. On an unadjusted basis, total loan application volumes decreased by 3 percent from a week earlier, the data indicated.

The application volumes for purchase loans decreased 2 percent from the earlier week but were 3 percent higher from the same period in 2017. However, the volumes for refinance loans hit their lowest level since 2000 declining 4 percent over the previous week. The refinance share of mortgage activity also decreased to 35.7 percent of total applications from 35.9 percent the week earlier, according to data. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity, however, increased to 6.8 percent of total loan applications.

When it came to government loans, the FHA and USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from the week earlier at 10.3 percent and 0.8 percent respectively. The share of applications for VA loans decreased to 9.8 percent from 10.3 percent in the prior week.

The average contract interest rate increased to its highest level across the board for various loans. Here's how the rate performed during the week:

  • For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less), the rate increased to  4.86 percent, its highest level since April 2011, from 4.77 percent in the prior week with the effective rate increasing from the week prior.
  • The rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $453,100) increased to 4.81 percent, its highest level since September 2013, from 4.73 percent. The effective rate also increased from last week.
  • The rate for FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.90 percent, its highest level since May 2011, from 4.78 percent even as the effective rate increased from the week prior.
  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rate increased to 4.31 percent, its highest level since February 2011, from 4.20 percent. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to its highest level in the history of the survey, to 4.12 percent from 4.09 percent. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and editor. A former Online Editor and currently a reporter for MReport, she is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.
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