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MBA: Here's the latest in a series of quiet mortgage app reports

Applications slightly move higher

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If last week’s mortgage report didn’t show exactly how quiet the mortgage market is, this new Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association should only further reinforce it.

According to the latest survey released Wednesday morning, mortgage applications increased 2.8% from one week earlier for the week ending Aug. 26, 2016.

This slightly offsets the baby drop witnessed in the prior report, which showed mortgage applications decreasing 2.1% from one week earlier.

It also continues the roller coaster of up and down application reports from the MBA.

Here’s what changed, although only slightly, in this week’s report.

The Refinance Index increased 4% from the previous week, while the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1% from one week earlier.

Overall, the refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 63.5% of total applications, marginally up from 62.4% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity dipped to 4.5% of total applications.

The Federal Housing Administration’s share of total applications increased to 9.7% from 8.9% the week prior, as the Veteran Affairs’ share of total applications increased to 12.5% from 12.4% the week prior. The United States Department of Agriculture’ share of total applications remained unchanged 0.6%.

Interest rates in the latest report show very little movement, with most moving only one to two percentage points.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) stayed still at 3.67%

Barely moving more that rate on conforming loan balances, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) inched up to 3.63% from 3.62%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.54% from 3.53%, while the average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 2.96% from 2.95%.

Showing the most change, the average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 2.90% from 2.84%.

The appraisal volume for this week echoed similar sentiments, with volume declining as kids start to head back to school, and parents turn their focus away from house hunting.

Appraisal volume is another indicator of market strength and holds some advantages over weekly mortgage applications.

For example, fallout is less for appraisals since they are ordered later in the mortgage process, after creditworthiness is determined, and there are few multiple-orders, by the time an appraisal is conducted.

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