Mortgage Loan Rates Mostly Higher Last Week, Applications Slip

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 2.7% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending January 18. Mortgage interest rates rose on four of five types of loans the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index dipped by 0.3% in the past week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 2% compared with the week ended January 11. The unadjusted purchase index rose by 4% for the week and was 13% higher year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for a top-tier 30-year fixed-rate loan increased from 4.57% to 4.60% last week, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers were paying 4.59% for that loan. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note increased in the past week from 2.53% to 2.74% last night. A year ago the 10-year note yielded 2.66%.

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

Mortgage application activity cooled off last week after two consecutive weeks of sizeable increases. Both purchase and refinance applications saw declines but remained at healthy levels, with the purchase index remaining close to a nine-year high, and the refinance index hovering near its highest level since last spring. Reversing the recent downward trend, rates increased for most loan types last week, due to better-than-expected unemployment claims, easing trade tensions and stabilization in the equity markets.

The MBA’s refinance index dropped by 5% week over week and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing decreased from 46.8% to 44.5%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 8.3% of all applications, down from 9.2% in the prior week.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up from 4.74% to 4.75%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 4.53% to 4.59%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped from 4.13% to 4.12%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 4.08% to 4.12%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan rose from 4.76% to 4.82%.