Mortgage Loan Rates Increased Last Week, but New Applications Remained Strong

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 13.5% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending January 11. Mortgage interest rates rose on three of five types of loans the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index jumped by 45% in the last week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 9% compared with the week ended January 4. The unadjusted purchase index rose by 43% for the week and was 11% higher year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for a top-tier 30-year fixed-rate loan inched up from 4.54% to 4.57% last week, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers were paying the same rate for that loan. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note decreased in the last week from 2.73% to 2.53% last night. A year ago the 10-year note yielded 2.54%.

Mike Fratantoni, MBA senior vice president and chief economist, commented:

Mortgage applications rose to their strongest level in years last week, with purchase applications rising to the highest since 2010, and refinance applications up to their highest level since last spring. Uncertainty regarding the government shutdown, slowing global growth, Brexit, a more patient Fed, and a volatile stock market continued to keep rates from increasing. The spring homebuying season is almost upon us, and if rates stay lower, inventory continues to grow, and the job market maintains its strength, we do expect to see a solid spring market. The 11 percent gain in purchase volume compared to last year is a promising sign.

The MBA’s refinance index rose by 19% week over week and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing increased from 45.8% to 46.8%, a 12-month high.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 9.2% of all applications, up from 8.4% in the prior week.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged at 4.74%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up from 4.52% to 4.53%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped from 4.16% to 4.13%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 4.05% to 4.08%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan increased from 4.70% to 4.76%.