Mortgage Loan Rates May Be Moving Higher, Applications Slide

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 4.6% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending October 20. During the week, mortgage loan rates rose on three of five loan types that the MBA tracks. The prior week’s totals include an adjustment for the Columbus Day holiday.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index increased by 6% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 6% compared with the week ended October 13. The unadjusted purchase index increased by 4% for the week and is now 10% 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 rose from 48.6% to 49.5%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 6.4% of all applications, up 0.3 percentage points from the prior week.

Mortgage rates began the week at two-month highs around 4%, then took a jump higher on Tuesday on reports that interest rate hawk John Taylor is the leading candidate to replace Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve. Yields on 10-year Treasury bonds jumped above 2.42%, although quoted mortgage rates moved only slightly higher to 4.02% on a 30-year fixed conventional mortgage, according to Mortgage News Daily.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 4.14% to 4.18%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped from 4.13% to 4.11%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 3.45% to 3.48%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan decreased from 3.31% to 3.29%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan rose from 4.00% to 4.04%.