Mortgage Applications Declining, Interest Rates Reach Multiyear Highs

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a drop of 1.7% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending October 5. Mortgage interest rates rose on all five types of loans the MBA tracks.

Mortgage loan rates for top-tier borrowers remained essentially unchanged last week to an average of 4.78% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers are looking at a rate of 5.00%, a drop of more than seven basis points week over week. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note edged higher to 3.21% Tuesday, up from 3.18% on Friday. A year ago the 10-year note yielded 2.89%.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index fell by 2% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 1% compared with the week ended September 28. The unadjusted purchase index dipped by 1% for the week and was 2% 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 dropped from 39.4% to 39.0%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.3% of all applications, up 0.2 points compared with the prior week.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 4.96% to 5.05%, its highest level since February 2011. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 4.93% to 4.99%, its highest level since July 2011. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also rose, from 4.39% to 4.44%, its highest level since April 2010.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 4.24% to 4.29%, the highest level since the MBA series began in 2011. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan rose from 4.95% to 4.98%, the highest level since April 2011.