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MBA: American home purchase activity reaches 9-year high

However, mortgage applications continue to decline as refinances slide

Primarily driven by a decline in refinances, the Mortgage Bankers Association revealed mortgage applications fell further for the week ending on April 12, 2019.

According to MBA’s weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, on an unadjusted basis, the Market Composite Index retreated 3.5% from the previous week.

“Mortgage applications decreased over the week, driven by a decline in refinances,” MBA Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting Joel Kan said.  “With mortgage rates up for the second week in a row, it’s no surprise that refinancings slid 8% and average loan sizes dropped back closer to normal levels.”

That being said, Kan noted that purchase activity remained strong and increased slightly, reaching its highest level since April 2010.

The spring buying season continues to be robust, with activity more than 7% higher than a year ago and up year-over-year for the ninth straight week,” Kan concluded.

The Refinance Index retreated 8% from the previous week and the unadjusted Purchase Index rose 2% from a week ago and is also 7% higher than the same week in 2018. Lastly, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1% 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 41.5% of total applications, sliding from 44.1% the previous week.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity declined to 6.6% of total applications.
  • The Federal Housing Administration‘s share of mortgage apps fell to 9.4% from last week’s 9.6%.
  • The Veterans Affairs‘ share of applications moderately increased to 11.6% from last week’s 11.1%.
  • The Department of Agriculture‘s share of total applications held its ground from last week’s 0.6%.
  • Mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased from 4.40% to 4.44%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) increased from last week’s 4.28% to 4.33%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA crawled forward from last week’s 4.42 to 4.43%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also inched up to 3.84% from 3.83% the week prior.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.88% from last week’s 3.78%.

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