Mortgage Application Volume Down for Sixth Week

Once
again a decline in refinancing wiped out modest gains in purchase mortgage
activity during the week ended March 23. 
As a result the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage
Applications Survey decreased 2.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from
the previous week.   On an unadjusted basis the index was down 2.6
percent.

The
Refinance Index decreased by 4.6 percent, the sixth consecutive week it has lost
ground.  It is now at its lowest level
since December.
  The decline was due
primarily to a 12.0 percent drop in applications for government-backed
refinancing sector. 
The conventional refinancing
sector by comparison fell only 3.4 percent. 
The refinancing share of all mortgage applications activity dropped to
71.9 percent from 73.4 percent.  This was
the lowest share of activity for refinancing since last July.   

The
seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3.3 percent from the week ended
March 16 and the unadjusted Purchase Index was 1.0 percent higher than during
the same week in 2011.

The
four week moving average for the Market Index fell 3.40 percent and this
average for the Refinance Index was down 4.94 percent.  The moving average for the seasonally
adjusted Purchase Index rose 2.14 percent.

Interest
rates increased
across the board as did the effective rate of all products
putting most rates at their highest level since late 2011.   The
30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) with a conforming balance of $417,500 or less
increased to 4.23 percent from 4.19 percent. 
Points decreased to 0.45 percent from 0.47 percent.  The average rate for a 30-year jumbo FRM,
those with balances over $417,500, increased to 4.54 percent with 0.46 point
from 4.49 percent with 0.38 point. 

FHA-backed
30-year FRM rates were up 3 basis points to 3.96 percent and points increased
to 0.52 from 0.48.   Fifteen-year FRM
rates averaged 3.50 percent with 0.42 point compared to 3.47 percent with 0.40 point
the previous week.

Interest
rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) jumped to 3.0 percent with 0.42
percent from 2.90 percent with 0.44 point. 
ARM applications represented 5.4 percent of all mortgage applications
during the week, down from 5.6 percent a week earlier.

Interest
rate quotes are for a loan with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio.  Points include the origination fee.

 During
the month of February, the investor share of applications for home purchase was
at 6.1 percent, a decrease from 6.4
percent in January.  This change was led by a decrease in the New England
region.  In addition, the share of purchase mortgages for second homes
decreased to 5.8 percent in February from 5.9 percent in January.

MBA’s weekly survey
covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications,
and has been conducted weekly since 1990.  Respondents include mortgage
bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.  Base period and value for all
indexes is March 16, 1990=100.

 

…(read more)

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