MBA: Mortgage applications fall as refinance market cools

By Housing News

As refinance volume cooled last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports mortgage applications dropped by 9.2%.

This means on an unadjusted basis, the index retreated 9.2% for the week ending on Nov. 29, 2019.

The MBA indicates this week’s results include an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“U.S. Treasury rates stayed flat last week, as uncertainty surrounding the U.K. elections offset positive domestic news on consumer spending,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “However, despite the 30-year fixed rate remaining unchanged at 3.97%, mortgage applications fell last week, driven down by a 16% drop in refinances. Purchase applications were up slightly but declined 24% from a year ago.”

According to the MBA, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index grew by 1% from one week earlier, while the unadjusted Purchase Index declined by 33% from the previous week.

“The purchase market overall looks healthy as we enter the home stretch of 2019,” Kan said. “The seasonally adjusted purchase index was at its highest level since July, as a combination of wage gains, slower home-price appreciation, and slightly easing inventory conditions continue to support increased activity.”

Here is a more detailed breakdown of this week’s mortgage application data:

  • The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased by 59% from last week’s 62%.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity held steady at 4.8% of total applications.
  • The Federal Housing Administration’s share of mortgage apps rose to 12% from last week’s 11.7%.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs share of applications fell to 12.7% from last week’s 14.1%.
  • The Department of Agriculture’s share of total applications remained unchanged from last week’s 0.5%.
  • Mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) held its ground from last week’s rate 3.97%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) increased from last week’s 3.87% to 3.91%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA moved forward to 3.83% from last week’s 3.79%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages declined from last week’s 3.38% to 3.37%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs dropped to 3.28% from last week’s 3.42%.


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