Mortgage Loan Rates Dipped Again Last Week as Applications Drop Nearly 4%

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 3.7% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending February 10. During the week, mortgage loan rates decreased on two of four types of fixed-rate loans and decreased on ARMs.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index decreased by 1% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 5% compared with the week ended February 3. The unadjusted purchase index increased by 1% for the week and is now 3% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 3% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing slipped from 47.9% to 46.9%, its lowest level since June of 2009.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.5% of all applications, up from 6.9% the prior week.

When Fed Chair Janet Yellen testified before Congress on Tuesday, she stirred up the mortgage lending market. Mortgage News Daily cited comments from a senior loan originator:

Chairwoman Yellen’s congressional testimony today confirmed the Fed’s previously stated goal of winding down fiscal stimulus, including investing in mortgage backed securities. While the news was hardly a surprise, it did prompt some large movement in bond markets. As of press time, 15 lenders reported worsening their rates mid-day, while 5 improved theirs as markets recovered. We’re now near the recent range’s top, with treasuries just under 2.5%. After all the excitement, markets are still looking for motivation, and haven’t found it yet.  Floating short term MIGHT result in improved pricing, since we’re at top of the range, with the emphasis on “MIGHT”.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 4.35% to 4.32%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 4.27% to 4.28%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged at 3.55%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan decreased from 3.39% to 3.34%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan slipped from 4.16% to 4.12%.