Mortgage Loan Applications Down for Holiday Week, Loan Rates Make Mixed Moves

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 9.2% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending November 29. The weekly total includes an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday. Mortgage interest rate changes were mixed on the five loan types the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index decreased by 38% in the past week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index rose by 1% compared with the week ended November 22. The unadjusted purchase index fell by 33% for the week and was 24% lower year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for a top-tier 30-year fixed-rate loan inched up last week to 3.76%, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers were paying 3.71% for that loan. The week-over-week yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note decreased from 1.74% to 1.72% as of last night’s close. A year ago, the 10-year note yielded 2.98%.

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

U.S. Treasury rates stayed flat last week, as uncertainty surrounding the U.K. elections offset positive domestic news on consumer spending. … This week’s year-over-year comparisons were distorted by Thanksgiving being a week later this year. The purchase market overall looks healthy as we enter the home stretch of 2019. The seasonally adjusted purchase index was at its highest level since July, as a combination of wage gains, slower home-price appreciation, and slightly easing inventory conditions continue to support increased activity.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 16% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing dropped from 62% to 59%.

Adjustable-rate mortgage loans accounted for 4.8% 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 remained unchanged at 3.97%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose slightly from 3.87% to 3.91%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked down from 3.38% to 3.37%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage loan dropped from 3.42% to 3.28%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan rose from 3.79% to 3.83%.