Mortgage Applications Up for Second Straight Week, Loan Rate Moves Mixed

Paul Ausick

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 2% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending November 30. Mortgage interest rates dropped on three of five types of loans the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index fell by 29% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 9% compared with the week ended November 16. The unadjusted purchase index dropped by 28% for the week and was 2% higher year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for top-tier dropped last week from a prior week’s ending value of 4.94% to 4.86% 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 4.82%. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note also dropped week over week from 3.06% to 2.92% last night. A year ago the 10-year note yielded 2.37%.

Joel Kan, the MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, commented:

Treasury rates continued to slide last week, driven mainly by concerns over slowing global economic growth and U.S. and China trade uncertainty. The 30-year fixed-rate fell for the third week in a row to 5.08 percent and has declined a total of nine basis points over this span. Application activity increased over the week for both purchase and refinance loans, and were 10 percent and 7 percent higher, respectively, than the week before the Thanksgiving holiday. Additionally, we saw a decrease in the average loan size for purchase applications to the lowest amount since December 2017 ($298,000 from $313,000). This is perhaps an indication that there are fewer jumbo borrowers, or maybe first-time buyers are having better success reaching the market as we close out the year.

The MBA’s refinance index rose by 6% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing increased from 37.9% to 40.5%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.4% of all applications, down 0.5 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 slipped from 5.12% to 5.08%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up from 4.88% to 4.89%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped from 4.53% to 4.50%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 4.29% to 4.33%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan dropped from 5.11% to 5.05%.