Weekly Mortgage Applications Fall 9.6%
The total volume of mortgage applications submitted in the week ending April 9 fell 9.6% from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) survey. A separate survey showed a corresponding dip in households submitting applications. Although the weekly decline in the MBA's index slowed from last week's 11% decline, the index is now at its third-lowest leaven since the end of June 2009. Applications for purchase mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration and the US Department of Veteran Affairs plummeted 19.1% this week. "Applications for government mortgages dropped substantially last week, following the implementation of an increase in FHA mortgage insurance premiums," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics. "Applications for conventional mortgages also dropped last week, with refinance application volume continuing to drop following last week's jump in rates." The volume of applications submitted for refinance mortgages slipped 9%, the fifth consecutive decline. Despite the decline, the refinance share of applications actually increased -- to 58.9% of total applications, from 58.7% the previous week -- as the drop in applications for government-backed purchase loans tipped the total share of purchase applications significantly lower. According to a separate survey of mortgage applications, published by Mortgage Maxx, that adjusts total volume to reflect the number of households submitting applications, household activity fell 1.3% in the same week. "Given that a seasonal bias higher would be expected by now, these numbers certainly give pause," the publisher said in e-mailed commentary. "As the tax credit expires and the Fed withdraws its overt MBS support, these new negatives threaten to drag mortgage activity further into the mud come summer." Write to Diana Golobay.