MBA: Mortgage applications reverse course, climb nearly 5%

But purchase and refinance levels remain lower

Mortgage applications reversed course, climbing 4.9% for the week ending October 19, 2018, according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

“Mortgage application activity rebounded the week following the Columbus Day holiday, but both purchase and refinance levels remained lower than where they were two weeks ago,” MBA AVP of Economic and Industry Forecasts Joel Kan said.

On an unadjusted basis, the Mortgage Composite index rose 5% from the previous week.

The Refinance Index increased 10% from the previous week, the unadjusted Purchase Index moved forward 2% from last week and is 0.2% higher than the same week in 2017, and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index crept up slightly, increasing 2% from one week prior.

“The holiday impacted refinance applications more than purchases, as refinances rebounded almost 10%,” Kan continued. “Meanwhile, purchase applications increased 2% over the prior week but were still 4% lower than two weeks ago – a sign that both the jump in mortgage rates and tight inventory continue to hold back application activity.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity reached 39.8% of total applications, up from 38.1% the week before. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity fell to 7% of total applications.

The Federal Housing Administration share of mortgage apps slid from last week’s 10.4% to 10.1%, and the Veterans Affairs' share of applications fell slightly to 10.1% from 10.4% last week.

The Department of Agriculture share of total applications decreased 0.7% from 0.8% the week before.

The MBA reported that mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) rose to its highest level since February 2011, moving to 5.11% from 5.10% the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $453,100) rose from 4.98% last week to 5.01% this week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased from 4.99% last week to 5.07% this week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages held steady at 4.5% this week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs reached its highest level in series history at 4.47% this week, up from 4.34% last week.

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