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MBA: More Americans are applying for mortgages as interest rates stabilize

Applications for 30-year fixed rate rise 5.3%

Mortgage applications rose again for the week ending Feb. 22, 2019, according to the newest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said mortgage rates were little changed last week, but as anticipated, homebuyers are responding favorably to this more stable rate environment.

 “Purchase applications for both conventional and government loans rose last week, with the government gain led by a 14% increase in applications for VA purchase loans,” Fratantoni continued.

On an unadjusted basis, the Market Composite index rose 5.3% from the previous week.

“Refinance application volume increased as well, with the index reaching its highest level in a month. Borrowers with larger loans tend to be more responsive for a given drop in rates, and competition for these loans is fierce,” Fratantoni said. “Therefore, it was not surprising to see the average rate for a 30-year fixed jumbo loan drop to its lowest level since January 2018.”

The Refinance Index increased 5% from the previous week and the unadjusted Purchase Index fell 1% from a week ago but remains 3% higher than the same week in 2018. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index also moved forward 6% 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 40.4% of total applications, falling from 41.7% the previous week.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity fell to 7.3% of total applications.
  • The Federal Housing Administration's share of mortgage apps held steady from last week’s 10.2%.
  • The Veterans Affairs' share of applications increased from 10.1% the previous week to 10.7% this week.
  • The Department of Agriculture's share of total applications decreased from 0.7% last week to 0.6% this week.
  • Mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances inched backwards from 4.66% to 4.65%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances moderately decreased from last week’s 4.56% to 4.40%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA fell to 4.64% this week from 4.68%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages declined from 4.04 to 4%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs retreated to 3.95% from 4%.

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