Mortgage Loan Rates Mostly Higher as Applications Decline 10%

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 9.7% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending September 15. During the week, mortgage loan rates rose on four of five loan types that the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index increased by 12% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 11% compared with the week ended September 8. The unadjusted purchase index increased by 10% for the week and is now 2% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 9% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose from 51% to 52.1%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 6.8% of all applications, up 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.

Wednesday’s announcement following the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will shape the mortgage market for the next few weeks. Most analysts expect the Federal Reserve to leave interest rates alone but to announce a winding down of the balance sheet. Fed Chair Yellen’s comments will be parsed carefully for hints about future Fed interest rate moves.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked higher from 4.03% to 4.04%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked lower from 4.00% to 3.99%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 3.30% to 3.35%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 3.17% to 3.30%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan rose from 3.94% to 3.97%.