Refinance mortgage loan applications dipped 31% year-to-year on the week ending Nov. 12, according to a survey published by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) on Wednesday. The refi volume decreased 5% compared to the previous week.
Meanwhile, applications to purchase a new home declined 6% in one year. However, they were up 2% in comparison to the previous week.
Overall, the Market Composite Index, a measure of the mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.8% compared to the previous week and 23% year-to-year.
Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting at the MBA, said refi applications decreased for the seventh time in eight weeks, as mortgage rates increased following two weeks of declines.
The trade group estimates the average contract 30-year fixed-rate for conforming loans ($548,250 or less) increased to 3.20%, four basis points higher than the previous week. For jumbo loans (greater than $548,250), it remained at 3.26%.
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“Activity has been particularly sensitive to rate movements, and last week’s decline was driven by a drop in conventional and FHA refinance applications, which offset an increase in VA refinance applications,” said Kan.
He added that purchase applications increased for conventional and government loans, as demand shows resiliency in late fall when home buying activity typically slows. Stronger sales activity may continue in the weeks to come, shows the survey.
Refi represented 62.9% of total applications, down from 63.5% the previous week. VA loans consisted of 10.8%, increasing six basis points. Meanwhile, FHA loans went from 8.8% to 8.9% in the period. The USDA share remained unchanged at 0.5% of the total.
In the purchase activity, real estate investors are more active than ever, challenging individual homebuyers. According to a Redfin report released this week, investors spent a record $63.6 billion to purchase homes in the third quarter, up 78% from a year earlier.
They were responsible for 18.2% of the U.S. homes purchased in the period, attracted by increasing returns on the investment.
Sheharyar Bokhari, a senior economist at Redfin, said that increasing home prices had created opportunities for investors to reap big profits. “Those same factors have pushed more Americans to rent, which also creates opportunities for investors,” he noted in a statement.