Mortgage Loan Rates Move Higher Anticipating FOMC Rate Hike

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 3.3% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending March 3. During the week, mortgage loan rates increased on all types of loans.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index increased by 16% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 2% compared with the week ended February 24. The unadjusted purchase index increased by 15% for the week and is now 4% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 5% week over week and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose from 45.1% to 45.4%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.7% of all applications, up from 7.3% in the prior week.

Mortgage rates have reacted to a high probability for an interest rate hike at next week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Interest rates have been moving around, but in a fairly narrow range. Mortgage News Daily’s Matthew Graham said:

All of the above makes the next 6 business days scary. It’s ultimately next Wednesday that has the biggest potential to push rates higher or lower, but there’s plenty of room for volatility between now and then. Incentive to float is much lower than it normally is when rates are at the top of a reliable range.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 4.30% to 4.36%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 4.23% to 4.27%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 3.51% to 3.57%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 3.35% to 3.48%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan rose from 4.07% to 4.18%.

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