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MBA: Rising mortgage applications show signs of promising spring homebuying season

Applications for 30-year fixed rate hold steady at 4.66%

Mortgage applications pushed forward for the week ending Feb. 20, 2019, according to the newest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

“Mortgage rates held steady on mixed economic news, as core inflation remained firm, while retail sales in December were much weaker than expected. However, overall application activity picked up over the week,” MBA Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting Joel Kan said. “After four consecutive declines, purchase applications increased almost 2% over the week and 2.5% compared to a year ago – showing some promise as we edge closer to the spring homebuying season.”

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

“Most rates remained close to 10-month lows, which allowed some borrowers with an incentive to refinance to capitalize. The 30-year fixed rate was essentially unchanged at 4.66%.”

The Refinance Index moved forward 6% from the previous week and the unadjusted Purchase Index climbed 7% from a week ago and is 3% higher than the same week in 2018. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index also rose 2% from the week before.

Here's a more detailed breakdown of this week's mortgage application data:

  • The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 41.7% of total applications, rising from 41.8% the previous week.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity remained unchanged at 7.7% of total applications.
  • The Federal Housing Administration's share of mortgage apps fell to 10.2% from last week’s 11%.
  • The Veterans Affairs' share of applications retreated from 10.9% the previous week to 10.1% this week.
  • The Department of Agriculture's share of total applications increased from 0.6% last week to 0.7% this week.
  • Mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances inched forward from 4.66% to 4.65%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances moderately increased from last week’s 4.48% to 4.56%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA rose to 4.68% this week from 4.61%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages moved came in at 4.04%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 4% from 3.97%.

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