Mortgage Loan Rates Rise, Applications Up 5%

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 4.8% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending March 23. Mortgage loan rates rose last week on four of five loan types that the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index increased by 5% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index rose by 3% compared with the week ended March 16. The unadjusted purchase index increased by 4% for the week and is now 8% higher year over year.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 7% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose week over week from 38.5% to 39.4%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7% of all applications, unchanged from the prior week.

Mortgage loan rates ended last week in a range of 4.5% to 4.625%, according to Mortgage News Daily, and remained within that range on Monday. Tuesday was a different story though, as bond rates fell thanks to a convergence of factors:

These included compulsory trades that had to be made by the end of the month, automatic trades made in response to certain lines in the sand, and safe-haven trades resulting from the massive losses in the stock market.  The net effect for the average mortgage borrower is a noticeable improvement in upfront costs at the very least (for instance, a quoted rate may be the same as yesterday, but the associated closing costs would be lower).

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up from 4.68% to 4.69%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 4.55% to 4.60%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped from 4.12% to 4.09%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 3.83% to 3.92%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan increased from 4.69% to 4.75%.

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