Mortgage applications rose 5.5% for the week ending Nov. 23, 2018, according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

“After several weeks of market volatility, 30-year fixed mortgage rates decreased four basis points to 5.12% last week,” MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said. “Homebuyers responded, with purchase applications 1.7% higher than a year ago, and after adjusting for the Thanksgiving holiday, they increased almost 9% from the previous week.”

On an unadjusted basis, the Mortgage Composite index retreated 29% from the previous week.

“The rise in purchase activity was led by conventional purchase applications, which surged almost 12%, while government purchases were essentially unchanged over the week,” Fratantoni continued. “This also pushed the average loan size for purchase applications higher, which likely meant there were fewer first-time homebuyers in the market last week.”

The Refinance Index increased 1% from the previous week, and the unadjusted Purchase Index plummeted 28% from last week and was 2% higher the same week in 2017.The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index climbed 9% from the previous week.

The refinance share of mortgage activity fell to 37.9% of total applications, down from 38.5% the week before. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased to 7.9% of total applications.

The Federal Housing Administration share of mortgage apps decreased from last week’s 10.7% to 9.6%, and the Veterans Affairs' share of applications also fell, dropping to 9.9% from 10.6% the previous week.

The Department of Agriculture share of total applications held its ground, remaining at 0.7% from the prior week.

“Refinance activity increased slightly overall, driven by conventional refinances, while government refinances decreased, as both FHA and VA applications dropped over the past week,” Fratantoni concluded.

The MBA reported that mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) moderately decreased to 5.12% from 5.16% the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $453,100) remained unchanged from last week, coming in once again at 4.88% this week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA moved forward from 5.08% last week to 5.11% this week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages did not budge, remaining at 4.53% this week.

Lastly, the average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs grew, reaching 4.29%, up from 4.24% last week.

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