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MBA: Mortgage applications decline as economic uncertainty grows

Applications for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fall 3.7%

Mortgage applications fell even further for the week ending Feb. 8, 2019, according to the newest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

“Application activity fell last week – even with rates decreasing – as renewed uncertainty about the domestic and global economy likely held potential homebuyers off the market,” MBA Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting Joel Kan said. “Despite the recent decline in applications, we still expect that the continued strength of the job market and lower rates will support more purchase activity in the coming months.”

On an unadjusted basis, the Market Composite index retreated 3.7% from the previous week.

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to its lowest level since last March and was 52 basis points lower than its recent high last November,” Kan continued. “Government refinances provided a bright spark, picking up over 10%, as both FHA and VA refinancing activity saw increases over the week.”

The Refinance Index inched backwards 0.1% from the previous week while the unadjusted Purchase Index declined 6% from a week ago and is 5% lower than the same week in 2018. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index declined 6% from the week before.

The refinance share of mortgage activity climbed to 43.2% of total applications, rising from 41.6% the previous week.

The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity slid to 7.5% of total applications.

The Federal Housing Administration's share of mortgage apps rose to 11% from last week’s 10.5% and the Veterans Affairs' share of applications increased from 10% the previous week to 11% this week.

The Department of Agriculture's share of total applications moved forward from 0.5% last week to 0.6% this week.

The MBA reported that mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) mode realty declined from the previous week, retreating from 4.69% to 4.65%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) slightly decreased from last week’s 4.5% to 4.48% this week.  

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA fell to 4.61% this week from 4.70% last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages moved backwards from 4.11% last week to 4.04% this week.

Lastly, the average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.97% from 4.04% last week. 

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