Mortgage Applications Decrease; FHA Sees Surge in Activity
A widely-watched index of mortgage application activity fell for the second straight week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday. A composite index of all application activity was 652.0 for the week ending March 14, a decrease of 2.9 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis from 671.7 one week earlier. Applications are running 3.7 percent below last year's levels, the organization said. The application index is calibrated to March 16, 1990; a reading of 652.0 means that application activity was roughly 6.5 times greater than when the index was first established. Both refinancing and purchase applications fell in the past week, with refinancing activity falling 4.6 percent, while purchase applications fell 1.0 percent. Despite the overall weak numbers, the MBA reported a strong jump of 7.7 percent in applications for FHA loans, as borrowers have flocked to the government-insured lending program amid higher loan limits announced roughly two weeks ago. Refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 49.7 percent of total applications, from 50.6 percent the previous week. ARM share fell as well as borrowers moved to fixed-rate mortgages, decreasing to 7.9 from 15.5 percent of total applications from the previous week. For more information, visit http://www.mortgagebankers.org.