New Mortgages Soar as Loan Rates Tumble to 15-Month Lows

Print Email

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting an increase of 18.6% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending March 29. Mortgage interest rates decreased on four of five types of loans the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index rose by 18% in the past week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 3% compared with the week ended March 15. The unadjusted purchase index rose by 4% for the week and was 10% higher year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for a top-tier 30-year fixed-rate loan dropped from 4.40% to 4.11% last week, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers were paying 4.21% for that loan. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note tumbled last week from 2.59% to 2.47% as of last night’s close. A year ago, the 10-year note yielded 2.73%.

Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting said:

There was a tremendous surge in overall applications activity, as mortgage rates fell for the fourth week in a row – with rates for some loan types reaching their lowest levels since January 2018. Refinance borrowers with larger loan balances continue to benefit, as we saw another sizeable increase in the average refinance loan size to $438,900 – a new survey record. We had expected factors such as the ongoing strong job market and favorable demographics to help lift purchase activity this year, and the further decline in rates is providing another tailwind.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 39% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing increased from 40.4% to 47.4%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 9.5% of all applications, up 1.7 percentage point compared with the prior week.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 4.45% to 4.36%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped from 4.35% to 4.21%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped from 3.87% to 3.78%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan remained unchanged at 3.77%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan decreased from 4.48% to 4.41%.


I'm interested in the Newsletter