Refinancing Slides as Mortgage Rates Continue to Rise

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 1.2% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index. That followed a drop of 3.5% for the previous week. Mortgage loan rates rose on two of four loan types last week, with the 30-year conforming mortgages and 15-year mortgages remaining unchanged.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 1% from the prior week’s report. On an unadjusted basis, the composite index decreased by 1% week-over-week. The unadjusted purchase index rose 1% for the week, but remains 17% lower year-over-year.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans account for 8% of all applications, unchanged from a week ago.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 3%, after declining 8% in the previous week. The share of refinancings fell for the eighth consecutive week to 53% of all applications.

The average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged at 4.56%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 4.45% to 4.46%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.62%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan rose from 3.22% to 3.25%, its highest level since January.

Refinancing continues to slide and is now down 73% from levels in May 2013, when 76% of loan applications came from home owners wanting to refinance mortgages. Rising mortgage interest rates will stifle refinancings and make it more difficult for first-time buyers to obtain a mortgage. Mortgage interest rates, though about 1% higher than a year ago, remain historically low for home buyers.