Mortgage Loan Rates Inch Up, Applications for New Loans Continue to Slip

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 2.3% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index, following a drop of 1.8% for the previous week. Mortgage loan rates increased slightly on two loan types while one was unchanged and the fourth fell slightly.

Changes in both applications and mortgage rates continue to be relatively small. In the past couple of years, refinancing often picked up the slack in mortgage lending, but with the lending market coming off record lows, homeowners who were going to refinance have already done so, and the rest are either waiting for rates to fall or for their homes to increase in value enough to make a refinance worth it.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 6% from last week’s report. On an unadjusted basis, the composite index decreased by 13% week-over-week. The unadjusted purchase index decreased by 8% for the week, and is 3% lower year-over-year. This marks the eighth week in a row that the year-over-year unadjusted purchase index is lower than or equal to its level of a year ago.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 7% after dropping by 2% in the previous week. The share of refinancings fell by two points, totaling 64% of all applications. Adjustable rate mortgage loans account for 7% of all applications, unchanged from the prior week.

The average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 4.44% to 4.46%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from 4.48% to 4.47%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged at 3.52%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan rose from 3.11% to 3.12%.