Mortgage Loan Rates Slip as Applications Fall Again

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning. It noted a week-over-week decrease of 4.8% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending February 26. Mortgage loan rates decreased on four of five loan types last week.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index increased by 7% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 1% compared with the week ended February 19. The unadjusted purchase index increased by 14% for the week and is now 27% higher year over year. Data for the week ending February 19 include an adjustment for the Presidents’ Day holiday.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 7% week over week and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing fell from 61.0% to 58.6%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 5.6% of all applications, down from 5.8% in the previous week.

Mortgage News Daily expanded on its comments of a week ago, noting that while contract interest rates (the rates the MBA reports and that we pass along) have remained within a narrow range, the upfront costs (origination fees, points, etc.) have provided most of the small movements in the effective rate of mortgage loans so far this year. Until this week:

[F]or the first time in more than a month, the actual [contract] note rates will be moving higher in many cases. 3.625% had easily been the most prevalent conventional 30yr fixed quote on top tier scenarios. [Tuesday]’s losses mean more borrowers will be seeing 3.75%.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 3.85% to 3.83%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 3.80% to 3.75%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 3.12% to 3.13%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan decreased from 3.07% to 3.02%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan rose from 3.72% to 3.67%.