Mortgage Loan Rates Fall to 10-Month Lows

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 3.3% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending September 1. During the week, mortgage loan rates fell to their lowest levels since last November on all five loan types that the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index increased by 2% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 1% compared with the week ended August 25. The unadjusted purchase index decreased by 1% for the week and is now 5% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 5% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose from 49.4% to 50.9%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.2% of all applications, up 0.3 percentage points from the prior week.

Mortgage rates remain at year-to-date lows, with the most prevalently quoted rate on top borrowers remaining at 3.875% week over week. Concerns about North Korea’s nuclear test drove investors into the bond markets on Tuesday, but most of the action was in U.S. Treasury bonds, where demand pushed yields down by nearly 0.1%. Mortgage-backed securities, the primary drivers of mortgage loan rates, were relatively unchanged.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped from 4.11% to 4.06%, its lowest rate since November. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped from 4.00% to 3.96%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped from 3.36% to 3.34%, also a low since November.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan fell from 3.26% to 3.14%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan dropped from 4.02% to 3.98%.