MBA: Uptick in mortgage rates slows purchase application growth

But refinances remain at the highest level since last year

A recent uptick in mortgage rates resulted in purchase applications declining slightly, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

On an unadjusted basis, the Market Composite Index slid 3.4% for the week ending June 14, 2019, according to MBA’s weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

“After seeing a six-week streak, mortgage rates for 30-year loans increased slightly, which led to a pullback in overall refinance activity,” MBA Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting Joel Kan said. “Borrowers were sensitive to rising rates, but the refinance share of applications was still at its highest level since January 2018, and refinance activity was at its second highest level this year. Government refinances actually increased last week, led by a 17% [increase] in VA refinance applications, while conventional refinance applications decreased 7 percent.”

The Refinance index retreated 4% from the previous week and the unadjusted Purchase Index fell 5% from a week ago but remained 4% higher than the same week in 2018. Lastly, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index ticked dropped 4% from the week before.

“Purchase applications decreased more than 3% last week, but were still up almost 4% from last year,” Kan said. “Strong demand from first-time buyers and low unemployment continue to push this year’s purchase activity above a year ago.”

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

  • The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 50.2% from last week’s 49.8%.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity decreased to 6.1% of total applications.
  • The Federal Housing Administration‘s share of mortgage apps ticked up from last week’s 8.9% to 9.4%.
  • The Veterans Affairs‘ share of applications moved forward to 11.9% from last week’s 11%.
  • The Department of Agriculture‘s share of total applications fell from last week’s 0.6% to 0.5%.
  • Mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) crawled forward from last week’s rate of 4.12% to 4.14%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) held steady from last week’s 4.04%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA rose from last week’s 4.09% to 4.12%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.50% from 3.53% the week prior.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.45% from last week’s 3.43%.

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