The impact of the election is even more apparent in this week’s mortgage application report as the 30-year mortgage rate recorded its highest weekly average since the beginning of 2016.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Nov. 18, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to its highest level since January 2016, 4.16%, from 3.95%.
Similarly, the previous week's report stated that mortgage rates recorded their biggest week-over-week increase since the taper tantrum in June 2013, and reached their highest level since January of this year.
That was until this week.
“Mortgage rates have continued to move higher in the post-election period, as investors worldwide are looking for increases in growth and inflation, with the 30-year mortgage rate reaching its highest weekly average since the beginning of 2016,” said Michael Fratantoni, chief economist and senior vice president of Research and Technology at the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Meanwhile, other mortgage product options also jumped.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) increased to its highest level since January 2016, 4.04%, from 3.89%.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.90%, from 3.73%, while the average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.35%, from 3.15%. Both reached their highest level since January 2016.
The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to its highest level since December 2015, 3.24%, from 3.11%.
The rise in interest rates also brought a significant decline in refinance applications.
The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 58.2% of total applications from 61.9% the previous week. However, the adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased to 5.2% of total applications.
While the Refinance Index decreased 3% from the previous week to its lowest level since January 2016, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index surged and increased 19% from one week earlier.
Overall, mortgage applications increased 5.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier.
“Refinance volume dropped further over the week, particularly for refinances of FHA and VA loans. Purchase volume increased sharply for the week compared to both last week, which included the Veteran’s Day holiday, and last year,” said Fratantoni. “The increase in purchase activity was driven by borrowers seeking larger loans and that drove up the average loan amount on home purchase applications to $310 thousand, the highest in the survey, which dates back to 1990.”