Mortgage Loan Rates Continue to Decline

Paul Ausick

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a week-over-week increase of 9.5% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending March 20. That followed a decrease of 3.9% for the week ending March 13. Mortgage loan rates decreased on all five types of loans last week, the second week in a row for that to occur. Last week’s loan rates were among the lowest to date this year.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index increased by 9% week-over-week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased 5%, compared to the week ended March 13. The unadjusted purchase index also rose by 5% for the week and is now 3% higher year-over-year.

The MBA’s refinance index increased 12% week-over-week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose from 59% to 61%.

Lower interest rates are beginning to lure more mortgage buyers. The increase in mortgage applications for new purchases should continue to rise. A boom in refinancing is not expected to occur in 2015, but the annual total should be slightly higher than last year, which saw the lowest refinancing level since 2000.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 5.8% of all applications, up from 5.5% in the prior week.

The FHA share of all applications fell from 14.3% a week ago to 13.3%, and the VA share decreased from 10.3% to 10.1%.

The average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 3.99% to 3.90%, its lowest level since February. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 3.94% to 3.89%, the lowest rate since January. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped from 3.28% to 3.22%, the lowest since February.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan fell from 2.99% to 2.97%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed rate loan declined from 3.74% to 3.71%. Both have reached their lowest point since January.

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