Mortgage Loan Rates on the Move, Applications Rise

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 2.7% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending February 23. Mortgage loan rates rose again last week on three of five loan types that the MBA tracks. All three loan types posted multiyear highs last week.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index decreased by 6% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index rose 6% compared with the week ended February 16. The unadjusted purchase index decreased by 1% for the week and is now 3% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 1% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing fell from 44.4% to 41.8%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 6.7% of all applications, up 0.3 percentage points from the prior week.

Mortgage loan rates that moved down last week got a boost yesterday following remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. In his statement, Powell appeared to some Fed watchers to have added another rate hike to the calendar for this year. Quoted mortgage loan rates reached 4.58% on a 30-year fixed-rate conforming loan according to Mortgage News Daily, a 52-week high.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged week over week at 4.64%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 4.62% to 4.57%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 4.02% to 4.07%, its highest level since April 2011.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 3.72% to 3.85%, also a high since April 2011. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan increased from 4.58% to 4.68%, also its highest level since April 2011.

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