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Refinancing fuels uptick in mortgage applications

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 76.2% of total applications

Mortgage application activity bounced back for the week ending April 10, primarily fueled by refinancing, according to data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, rose by 7.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased by an even 7% compared with the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index dropped by 2% from the previous week, while the unadjusted Purchase Index dipped by 1% over the same period – and the latter was also 35% lower than the same week one year ago. This marked the fifth consecutive week that purchase activity was in decline.

The upward motion in the new data came via the Refinance Index, which sailed 10% higher from the previous week and was 192% higher than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 76.2% of total applications from 74.2% the previous week.

The MBA also reported that rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) dipped from the previous week’s 3.49% to 3.45%.

“The 30-year fixed mortgage rate decreased last week to the lowest level in MBA’s survey at 3.45%,” observed Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “The decline in rates – despite Treasury yields rising – is a sign that the mortgage-backed securities market is stabilizing and lenders are successfully working through their lending pipelines.”

Among the federal home loan programs, the Federal Housing Administration’s share of total applications decreased to 9.5% from 10.6% the week prior, while the Department of Veterans Affairs’ and the Department of Agriculture’s share of total applications remained unchanged from the prior week at 14.3% and 0.4%, respectively.

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