MBA: Mortgage applications rise after several weeks of declining

Market Composite Index rises 2.7%

After declining for several consecutive weeks, mortgage applications reversed course for the week ending May 3, 2019, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

According to MBA's weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, on an unadjusted basis, the Market Composite Index rose 2.7% from the previous week. 

“We saw a good week for the spring homebuying season, as a 5% increase in purchase applications – both weekly and year-over-year – drove the results,” MBA Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting Joel Kan said. “Average loan amounts also stayed elevated, with government purchase applications rising to the highest in the survey. Even with slower price appreciation in higher-priced markets, home prices are still rising enough to push average loan sizes higher.”

Additionally, Kan said with purchase activity increasing and mortgage rate movements mostly unchanged, the refinance share of applications reached their lowest level since last November.

The Refinance Index rose 1% from the previous week and the unadjusted Purchase Index grew 5% from a week ago and remains 5% higher than the same week in 2018. Lastly, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index moved forward 4% 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 37.9% of total applications, slightly retreating from 38.8% the previous week.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased to 6.4% of total applications.
  • The Federal Housing Administration's share of mortgage apps held its ground from last week’s 9.5%.
  • The Veterans Affairs' share of applications moved forward to 11.1% from last week’s 10.9%.
  • The Department of Agriculture's share of total applications didn’t budge from last week’s 0.6%.
  • Mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) slid from 4.42% to 4.41%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) moderately decreased from last week’s 4.31% to 4.27%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased from last week’s 4.39 to 4.44%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also held steady from 3.81% the week prior.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs grew to 3.88% from last week’s 3.81%.

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