Mortgage applications rose 2.1% with double-digit gain in purchases
Mortgage applications bounced back last week on the back of a double-digit increase in purchase applications. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its market composite index rose 2.1% for the week ended Nov. 19 with a 14.4% gain in purchases, which is the largest increase since May. Refinancing applications fell 1% from the week earlier to the lowest level since June. The composite index rose 1.1% and purchase index climbed 9.6% on an unadjusted basis. Once again, the numbers represent a large swing from the prior week when the overall index fell 14.4% with a 16.5% drop in refinancings and a 5% decline in purchases, which was the first dip in a month. "The increase in purchase applications last week aligns with other incoming data suggesting that consumers are feeling somewhat more confident with their financial situation," said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics. "While the increase was magnified somewhat by the comparison to the holiday week, the level of purchase applications on a seasonally adjusted basis is now at its highest level since the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit." In four-week moving averages, the seasonally adjusted market index is down 3.2%, the purchase index is up 4% and the refinance index is down 4.8%. Refinancings accounted for 78.6% of all mortgage applications last week, down from 80.3% the week earlier. The MBA said the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage continues to move away from generational lows, rising to 4.5% last week from 4.46%. The average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.83% from 3.87% a week earlier. According to the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace weekly update, rates for a 30-year, fixed-mortgage retreated somewhat last week to 4.27%, down from a four-month high of 4.34% the prior week. Earlier in November, the average rate hit a record low of 4.07%, according to Zillow. Write to Jason Philyaw.