Mortgage Loan Rates Rose Last Week, Slowing New Purchase Applications

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a rise of 0.5% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending October 11. Mortgage interest rates rose on three of five loan types the MBA tracks, fell one type of loan and was unchanged on the fifth.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index increased by 1% in the past week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index dipped by 4% compared with the week ended October 4. The unadjusted purchase index also slipped by 4% for the week and was 12% higher year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for a top-tier 30-year fixed-rate loan increased from 3.62% to 3.79% last week, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers were paying 3.80% for that loan. The week-over-week yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note increased from 1.53% to 1.74% as of last night’s close. A year ago, the 10-year note yielded 3.15%.

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

The ongoing interest rate volatility is impacting a borrowers’ ability to lock in the lowest rate possible. … Purchase applications slowed for the second week in a row. While near term economic uncertainty is still a factor, other fundamental issues, such as a lack of housing inventory in many markets, is preventing purchase activity from meaningfully rising. However, purchase applications were still much higher than a year ago. This is a reminder that the purchase environment in 2019 continues to be stronger than in 2018.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 4% week over week (on top of a 10% jump in the previous week and a 14% increase two weeks ago), and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose from 60.4% to 62.2%.

Adjustable-rate mortgage loans accounted for 5.5% of all applications, up by 0.2 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 inched up from 3.90% to 3.92%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged at 3.90%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 3.35% to 3.32%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage loan rose from 3.25% to 3.37%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan rose from 3.75% to 3.77%.


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