Mortgage Applications Dip Slightly as Interest Rates Slide

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 0.1% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending November 16. Mortgage interest rates dropped on four of five types of loans the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index fell by 3% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 3% compared with the week ended November 9. The unadjusted purchase index dipped by 1% for the week and was 5% lower year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for top-tier borrowers fell last week from a prior week’s ending value of 5.05% to 4.94% 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 4.93%. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell from 3.14% last Tuesday to 3.06% last night. A year ago the 10-year note yielded 2.37%.

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

Treasury rates declined last week, as equity markets continued to see large swings amidst investor concerns over global economic growth. As a result, mortgage rates inched back across most loan types, including the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, 5/1 ARM, and 30-year jumbo mortgage rate. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage also declined, stopping a run of six straight weekly increases. Mortgage applications saw mixed results last week. The Purchase Index increased to its highest level in five weeks, but despite the pause in rates, refinance activity dropped again and remained at its lowest level since 2000.

The MBA’s refinance index fell by 5% week over week and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing increased from 39.4% to 38.5%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.3% of all applications, down 0.4 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 ticked down from 5.17% to 5.16%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped from 4.98% to 4.88%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped from 4.57% to 4.53%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan decreased from 4.45% to 4.24%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed rate loan remained unchanged at 5.08%.