Mortgage applications rose 7.8% last week on more refinancings
Mortgage applications grew again last week as the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell for the fifth week in a row, prompting another increase in home refinancings, according to an industry trade group. The Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday its market composite index — a measure of mortgage loan application volume — grew 7.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis when compared to the previous week. On an unadjusted basis, the index increased 7.1%. Meanwhile, the refinance index hit its highest level since mid-December, increasing 13.2% over the prior week. On the other hand, the seasonally adjusted purchase index fell 3.2% during the surveyed period. "The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is now 53 basis points below its 2011 peak, and has decreased for five straight weeks," said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's Vice President of Research. "Over this five week span, the refinance index has increased by about 33 percent. Refinance application volumes remain about 50 percent below the most recent peak last October." Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for the seasonally adjusted market index grew 3.6% over the previous week and the four-week moving average fell 2.9% for the seasonally adjusted purchase index. The average for the refinance index is up 7.2%, reflecting a growth in home refinancings. In addition, the refinance share of mortgage activity grew to 66.7% of total mortgage applications, up from 63.1% a week earlier. "This is the largest refinance share observed since late January," the MBA said. The average rate for the 30-year, FRM fell to 4.60% from 4.67%, while the average contract interest rate for the 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.75% from 3.81%, according to the latest MBA report. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.