Mortgage Loan Rates Moving Sideways, Application Numbers Slip

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 0.5% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending August 18. During the week, mortgage loan rates fell on three of the five loan types that the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index decreased by 2% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index also decreased by 2% compared with the week ended August 11. The unadjusted purchase index decreased by 3% for the week and is now 9% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 0.3% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose from 47.8% to 48.7%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 6.4% of all applications, down 0.2 percentage points from the prior week.

Mortgage rates did not change much last week, making only small moves in either direction. Rates remain in the same narrow range they have been in all year. The most prevalent loan rate offered to top-tier borrowers last week was 3.875%, according to Mortgage News Daily. Comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi at the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole conference may include an end date for the ECB’s easing program, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech, scheduled for Friday, may give some signal of the Fed’s intention to raise rates and to begin repairing its balance sheet.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged at 4.12%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from 4.04% to 3.99%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped from 3.41% to 3.40%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan fell from 3.34% to 3.27%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan inched up from 4.01% to 4.02%.