Mortgage app volume declines as rates rise

by Francis Monfort02 Feb 2018
Mortgage application volume declined during the week ending Jan. 26 as average contract interest rates climbed across the board, according to the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The MBA’s Market Composite Index, which measures loan application volume, fell 2.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis but increased 12% on an unadjusted basis.

The Refinance Index slipped 3% from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index also fell 3% over the same period. On an unadjusted basis, the Purchase Index increased 15% percent compared with the prior period and was 10% higher compared to the same week in 2017.

The refinance share of mortgage activity fell to its lowest level since August, dropping to 47.8% from 49.4% in the previous period. Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) applications accounted for 5.7% of total applications, an increase from the previous 5.2% share.

The share of FHA applications declined to 10.7% from 11.4%, while the VA share decreased to 10.1% from 10.9%. The 0.8% share of USDA applications was steady week over week.

Average rates for both conforming and jumbo 30-year fixed rate mortgages increased to their highest levels since March. Rates for mortgages with conforming loan balances averaged 4.41%, up from 4.36%, with points for 80% loan-to-value ratio loans increasing to 0.56 from 0.54. Mortgages with jumbo loan balances recorded an average 4.34% rate, up from 4.31%, with points increasing to 0.40 from 0.38.

The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA rose to 4.4%, its highest level since September 2013, from 4.37%, with points increasing to 0.68 from 0.65. Rates for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.85%, its highest level since April 2011, up from 3.81%, with points rising to 0.60 from 0.52. The average rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.79%, its highest level since March 2011, from 3.70%, with points increasing to 0.41 from 0.39.

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