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MBA: Mortgage applications fall as U.S. Treasury yields experience volatility

The Market Composite Index fell 0.1% last week

Last week, U.S. Treasury yields experienced volatility, resulting in mortgage rates behaving unstably. As rates seesawed throughout the week, the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates mortgage applications fell by 0.1%.

This means on an unadjusted basis, the index slid 0.1% for the week ending on Nov. 1, 2019.

“U.S. Treasury yields once again exhibited some intraweek volatility before declining sharply toward the end of the week,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “As a result, mortgage rates decreased, with the 30-year fixed rate falling below 4% again.”

In response to the lower rates, Kan said refinance applications climbed 2%, as homeowners with larger loan balances helped to keep the average refinance loan size elevated. However, purchase applications fell slightly, but remained almost 7% higher than a year ago, he said.

According to the MBA, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3% from one week earlier, whereas the unadjusted Purchase Index fell 4% from the previous week.

Despite this retreat, Kan said there’s evidence to suggest that high-end home buyers are more active this fall, as the average loan size for purchase applications increased to its highest level since May.

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

  • The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 59.5% from last week’s 58%.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity held steady at 5.2% of total applications.
  • The Federal Housing Administration’s share of mortgage apps declined to 11.8% from last week’s 12%.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs share of applications moved forward to 12% from last week’s 11.8%.
  • The Department of Agriculture’s share of total applications remained unchanged from last week’s 0.6%.
  • Mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) decreased from last week’s rate of 4.05% to 3.98%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) retreated from last week’s 4.01% to 3.97%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA fell to 3.79% from last week’s 3.83%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped from last week’s 3.4% to 3.38%.

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