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HARP Shows Pull Even While Refi Applications Dip: MBA

The refinance share of mortgage applications broke with several weeks of activity by falling below 80 percent last week, even while more borrowers took advantage of the expanded Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

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The ""Mortgage Bankers Association"":http://www.mbaa.org/default.htm (MBA) said in a weekly survey that mortgage application volume contracted by 0.3 percent from the week before, while the index covering it dropped 9.4 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis.

The trade group said it adjusted application volume for the President's Day holiday.

""Mortgage rates remained near survey lows last week, but refinance volume fell slightly,"" ""Michael Fratantoni"":http://www.mbaa.org/files/SpeakersBureau/FrantantoniM.pdf, VP of

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research and economics with the MBA, said in a statement.

He said that HARP mortgages accounted for more than 20 percent of refinance applications, with total volume ticking up over the last week.

The Refinance Index climbed down by 2.2 percent from the week before, alongside a refinance share of mortgage activity that fell from 80.1 percent to 77.9 percent of total volume from last week.

The Purchase Index offered a seasonally adjusted 8.2-percent increase from the week before. On a seasonally unadjusted basis, purchases went up 0.9 percent from last week but remained 4.3 percent below figures year-over-year.

The four-week moving average fell 0.96 percent for the Purchase Index but ticked down by 0.33 percent and 0.64 percent for the Market and Refinance indices, respectively.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of market activity contracted from 5.3 percent of total volume to 5 percent from last week.

Fratantoni said that purchase application volume ""increased over the week, but remains within the narrow and anemic range of activity we have seen since the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit in May 2010.""

The MBA also recorded varying declines in mortgage rates for all but 30-year fixed-rate loans with jumbo balances, signaling that the eurozone crisis continues to drive an exodus by investors from Europe.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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