Weekly Mortgage Applications Fall 2.2%: MBA

Mortgage applications fell across the board this week, with prospective borrower interest in government-insured loans marking the only consistent — but slight — gain in the last several months. Total mortgage applications submitted for the week ending August 28 dipped 2.2% below the previous week but still sits an unadjusted 22.7% above the year-ago week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association‘s (MBA) weekly survey. The volume of applications submitted exclusively for refinance fell 3.1% from the previous week, keeping the refi share of total applications at 56.5%. The MBA noted only government purchase applications — or applications for FHA-insured loans — gained this week, rising 0.5% in the seventh consecutive weekly increase. Purchase applications for government-insured loans accounted for 40.4% of total applications submitted in August, up from 38.3% in July and from 31.7% a year earlier. The MBA said August marks the highest government-insured share of applications since February 1991. A separate survey conducted by Mortgage Maxx found household application activity fell 4.8% in the same week. The Mortgage Application Index — or MAX — measures household activity in the application process by adjusting total application volume to count multiple submissions from a single household as one participant. MAX publisher Paul Descloux, in his weekly commentary on the index, notes overall activity remains low, despite a “one week hiatus” that ended August 21. He says an approaching deadline on the first-time homebuyer tax credit may spike activity in coming weeks. “Refinancings remain tepid as the cost savings analysis vis a vis destroyed asset values are problematic for many,” Descloux writes. Write to Diana Golobay.

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