Fewer mortgage applications as rates reach four-year high

With 30-year mortgage rates reaching a four-year high, loan application activity was lower this past week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Feb. 16 found it decreased 6.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier.

The refinance index decreased 7% from the previous week and the refinance application share decreased to 44.4% from 46.5% for the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased 6% from one week earlier. The unadjusted purchase index increased 1% compared with the previous week and was 3% higher than the same week one year ago.

Adjustable-rate loan application activity increased to 6.4% from 6.3%, while the share of Federal Housing Administration-guaranteed loans decreased to 9.9% from 10.1% the week prior.

The share of applications for Veterans Affairs-guaranteed loans decreased to 10% from 10% the week prior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Rural Development share remained unchanged at 0.8%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) increased to its highest level since January 2014, 4.64%, from 4.57%. For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $453,100), the average contract rate increased to its highest level since January 2014, 4.62%, from 4.55%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to its highest level since April 2011, 4.58%, from 4.54%. For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages the average rate increased to its highest level since April 2011, 4.02%, from 4%. The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased 2 basis points to 3.72%.

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Glenn McCullom

Glenn McCullom is the copy editor of National Mortgage News.

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