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Refinance Activity Lifts Mortgage Apps in Latest Index

Mortgage applications took a positive turn last week, increasing after nearly a month of straight declines.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released on Wednesday its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, reporting a 4.3 percent improvement in loan application volume for the week ending April 11. On an unadjusted basis, the survey recorded a 5 percent week-over-week increase.

The headline index was boosted by a 7 percent gain in MBA’s measure of refinance applications, which has been weak over the past few weeks as rising mortgage rates drain the pool of remaining potential refinances. The increase brought the refinance share of total mortgage activity back up a percentage point to 52 percent.

Partially explaining the recovery in refinance volumes was a sizable drop in the average 30-year fixed rate, which MBA reported at 4.47 percent last week (down from 4.56 percent). Points also decreased, falling to 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value loans.

At the same time, the Purchase Index continued to inch its way up slowly, increasing a seasonally adjusted 1 percent from the first week of April. The unadjusted Purchase Index rose 2 percent over the week but remained down 16 percent compared to the same week one year ago.

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