Mortgage Loan Rates Make Slight Move Last Week, Applications Continue Decline

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 3% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending January 25. The index was adjusted to account for last week’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. Mortgage interest rates rose slightly on four of five types of loans the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index dipped by 10% in the past week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 2% compared with the week ended January 18. The unadjusted purchase index fell by 6% for the week and was 7% lower year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for a top-tier 30-year fixed-rate loan ticked higher last week, from 4.60% to 4.61%, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers were paying 4.58% for that loan. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note decreased in the last week from 2.74% to 2.71%, as of last night’s close. A year ago the 10-year note yielded 2.70%.

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

After two weeks of decreases, the purchase index still remained roughly 6 percent above its long-run average, which is good news with the spring buying and selling season almost underway. Despite ongoing supply and affordability constraints, the healthy job market and underlying demographic fundamentals both point to gradual purchase growth in the coming months. Refinance activity had seen a small resurgence in the past few weeks, but there still remains only a small share of borrowers left to gain from rates at the current levels.

The MBA’s refinance index dropped by 6% week over week and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing decreased from 44.5% to 42%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.9% of all applications, down from 8.3% 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 4.75% to 4.76%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage also ticked up, from 4.59% to 4.60%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 4.12% to 4.16%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan increased from 4.12% to 4.14%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan slipped from 4.82% to 4.77%.

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