Mortgage Loan Rates Tick Up, Applications Remain Flat

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 0.3% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending March 2. Mortgage loan rates rose again last week on two of five loan types that the MBA tracks, and both posted multiyear highs.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index increased by 13% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index dropped by 1% compared with the week ended February 23. The unadjusted purchase index increased by 13% for the week and is now 1% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 2% week over week. and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing was unchanged at 41.8%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.3% of all applications, up 0.6 percentage points from the prior week.

Mortgage loan rates remained at or near year-to-date highs last week following the comments from new Fed Chair Jerome Powell and the president’s announcement of new tariffs on steel and aluminum. Neither statement was encouraging for bond buyers, so they did not buy, which pushed rates slightly higher. Rates have not changed much since Friday, according to Mortgage News Daily.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up from 4.64% to 4.65%, the highest since January 2014. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 4.57% to 4.56%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 4.07% to 4.11%, its highest level since April 2011.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan decreased from 3.85% to 3.81%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed rate loan were unchanged at 4.68%, the highest level since April 2011.