Rising Mortgage Interest Rates Slam Demand for New Loans, Refinancing

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decline of 10.1% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending September 20. Mortgage interest rates rose on three of five loan types the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index decreased by 11% in the past week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 3% compared with the week ended September 13. The unadjusted purchase index fell by 4% for the week and was 9% higher year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for a top-tier 30-year fixed-rate loan rose from 3.85% to 4.12% last week, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers were paying 3.72% for that loan. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell from 1.81% to 1.65% as of last night’s close. A year ago, the 10-year note yielded 3.08%.

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

U.S. Treasury yields trended downward over the course of last week, as the Federal Reserve meeting highlighted the elevated uncertainty in the economic outlook. However, despite falling yields, mortgage rates ticked up again and have risen 20 basis points over the past two weeks. … The recent data on increased existing-home sales and new residential construction points to the underlying strength in the purchase market this fall.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 15% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing dropped from 57.9% to 54.9%.

Adjustable-rate mortgage loans accounted for 5% of all applications, up by 0.1 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 ticked up from 4.01% to 4.02%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked down from 4.01% to 4.00%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 3.42% to 3.46%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage loan slipped from 3.54% to 3.39%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan ticked up from 3.89% to 3.90%.