Mortgage Loan Rates, New Applications Turn Higher

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 3.6% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending February 15. Mortgage interest rates dropped on four of five types of loans the MBA tracks. MBA data for the prior week were revised.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index rose by 3.6% in the past week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 2% compared with the week ended February 8. The unadjusted purchase index rose by 7% for the week and was 3% higher year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for a top-tier 30-year fixed-rate loan inched up from 4.44% to 4.49% last week, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers were paying 4.47% for that loan. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note dipped in the last week from 2.69% to 2.64% as of last night’s close. A year ago the 10-year note yielded 2.87%.

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

Mortgage rates held steady on mixed economic news, as core inflation remained firm, while retail sales in December were much weaker than expected. However, overall application activity picked up over the week. After four consecutive declines, purchase applications increased almost 2 percent over the week and 2.5 percent compared to a year ago – showing some promise as we edge closer to the spring homebuying season.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 6% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing dropped from 41.8% to 41.7%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.7% of all applications, unchanged 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 up from 4.65% to 4.66%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 4.48% to 4.56%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged at 4.04%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan rose from 3.97% to 4.00%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan increased from 4.61% to 4.68%.