Mortgage Applications Hit 4-Year Low as Interest Rates Climb

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 4% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending November 2. Mortgage interest rates rose on four of five types of loans the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index fell by 2% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 5% compared with the week ended October 26. The unadjusted purchase index dipped by 1% for the week and was 0.2% lower year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for top-tier borrowers increased last week from a prior week’s ending value of 4.94% to 5.04% 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 5.05%. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note jumped from 3.12% last Tuesday to 3.23% last night. A year ago the 10-year note yielded 2.32%.

Joel Kan, the MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasts, commented:

Rates increased slightly last week, as various job market indicators showed a bounce back in job gains and an acceleration in wage growth in October. The survey’s 30-year fixed-rate, at 5.15 percent, was the highest since April 2010. Application activity decreased over the week for both purchase and refinance applications, with the overall market index down to its lowest level since December 2014. The purchase index declined to its lowest level since November 2016, but remained only slightly below the same week a year ago. It’s evident that housing inventory shortages continue to impact prospective homebuyers this fall.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 3% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing decreased from 39.4% to 39.1%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.8% of all applications, up 0.2 points compared with the prior week, and the highest level since May 2017.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 5.11% to 5.15%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 4.94% to 4.97%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged at 4.55%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 4.33% to 4.36%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan rose from 5.08% to 5.15%.