Mortgage Loan Rate Moves Mixed, Applications Hit the Pause Button

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decline of 3.1% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending August 30. Mortgage interest rates fell on three of five types loans the MBA tracks, rose on one and remained unchanged on the fifth.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index decreased by 7% in the past week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 4% compared with the week ended August 23. The unadjusted purchase index rose by 1% for the week and was 5% higher year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for a top-tier 30-year fixed-rate loan remained unchanged at 3.64% last week, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers were paying 3.52% for that loan. The week-over-week yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note dipped from 1.74% to 1.46% as of last night’s close. A year ago, the 10-year note yielded 2.86%.

Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said:

Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China led to volatile, yet declining Treasury rates last week, causing the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to fall to 3.87 percent, its lowest level since November 2016. Despite lower borrowing costs, refinances were down from their recent peak two weeks ago, but still remained over 150 percent higher than last August, when rates were almost a percentage point higher. Purchase applications increased 1 percent last week and were 5 percent higher than a year ago. Consumers continue to act on these lower rates, but the volatility in the market is likely leading some borrowers to pause refinancing and buying decisions.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 7% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing dipped from 62.4% to 60.4%.

Adjustable-rate mortgage loans accounted for 5.7% of all applications, down by 0.4 percentage points compared with the prior week.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from 3.94% to 3.87%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 3.89% to 3.94%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped slightly from 3.31% to 3.29%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage loan dipped from 3.42% to 3.40%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan remained unchanged at 3.80%.

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