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Refinance Applications Down 15% This Week, Says MBA

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Mortgage activity was mixed in two weekly surveys, with one seeing an uptick in applications to get financing for a new home loan and another seeing a decline in refinancing requests. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) survey of gross mortgage applications decreased 10.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending January 22, compared to one week ago. “Refinance activity fell substantially last week,” said Michael Fratantoni, the MBA’s vice president of research and economics. “Although rates remain low, there appears to be a smaller pool of borrowers who are willing and able to refinance at today’s rates.” The Mortgage Maxx index that’s adjusted to reflect the number of households applying for mortgages increased 17.8% in the same period. The index was adjusted to reflect the shortened holiday week. In its report, the firm warned the adjustment might be overstating strength by approximately 5%. “With housing still in woeful shape despite Fed intervention a significant increase in the MAX over seasonal expectations appears unlikely,” Mortgage Maxx said. MBA’s refinance index decreased 15.1% from the previous week and the seasonally adjusted purchase index was also down 3.3%. Refinance applications too a 67.6% share of all applications, down from 71.7% last week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity accounted for 4.7% of applications, up from 4.1% last week. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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