Mortgage Loan Rate Changes Mixed, Applications Down Last Week

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 2.3% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending December 8. Mortgage loan rates rose last week on three of five loan types that the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index decreased by 4% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 1% compared with the week ended December 1. The unadjusted purchase index decreased by 6% for the week and is now 10% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 3% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose from 51.6% to 52.4%, its highest level since January.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 5.6% of all applications, down 0.1 percentage points from the prior week.

A securities industry regulator told CNBC earlier this week that some people are “taking out mortgages” and borrowing cash in other ways to buy bitcoin. His comment: “This is not something a guy who’s making $100,000 a year, who’s got a mortgage and two kids in college ought to be invested in.”

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up from 4.19% to 4.20%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 4.16% to 4.11%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 3.59% to 3.61%, its highest level since March.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan decreased from 3.48% to 3.42%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan increased from 4.11% to 4.13%, the highest level since April.