Mortgage Loan Rates Move Higher on Fixed-Rate Loans, Applications Up 4%

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 4% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending January 20. During the week, mortgage loan rates increased on fixed-rate loans and decreased on adjustables.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index decreased by 5% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 6% compared with the week ended January 13. The unadjusted purchase index increased by 2% for the week and is now 0.1% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 0.2% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing slipped from 53% to 50%, the lowest level of refinancings since last July.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 5.7% of all applications, unchanged from the prior week.

Tuesday’s report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on existing home sales indicated that the nation’s housing inventory currently sits at its lowest level since 1999, the first year that NAR began keeping records on this data point. Higher prices and mortgage rates combined with a lack of inventory kept sales down in the month of December. Even so, 2016 was the best year in a decade for sales of existing homes.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 4.27% to 4.35%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 4.22% to 4.28%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 3.51% to 3.57%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan decreased from 3.44% to 3.41%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan rose from 4.10% to 4.19%.