Mortgage Loan Rates Remain Low as Hurricanes Hamper Applications

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 9.9% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending September 8. During the week, mortgage loan rates fell on three of five loan types that the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index decreased by 13% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 11% compared with the week ended September 1. The unadjusted purchase index decreased by 13% for the week and is now 7% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 9% week over week and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose from 50.9% to 51%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 6.7% of all applications, down 0.5 percentage points from the prior week.

MBA economist Joel Kan described the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to Mortgage News Daily:

To illustrate the impact of the two major hurricanes, over the past two weeks, mortgage applications for the state of Texas ran about 25 percent lower than the state’s weekly average for the year to date, reflecting the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, in the most recent week we saw mortgage applications in Florida fall 48 percent lower than its 2017 weekly average, as many residents evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. In comparison, the level of applications for the nation last week was only 12 percent lower than its 2017 average.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped from 4.06% to 4.03%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 3.96% to 4.00%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped from 3.34% to 3.30%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 3.14% to 3.16%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan dropped from 3.98% to 3.94%.