March Application Volume Ended on Sour Note

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The strong showing for
both refinancing and purchase applications during the week ended March 23 didn’t
last, with both reversing course last week. The Mortgage Bankers Association
said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume,
decreased 3.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended
March 30, and was down 3 percent on an unadjusted basis.  While MBA did not make any holiday related
adjustments to its data, both Passover and Good Friday were observed during the
week and may have affected application volumes.

 

Refi Index vs 30yr Fixed

 

 

Purchase Index vs 30yr Fixed

 

 

The Refinance Index,
which had rebounded by 7 percent a week earlier, fell back by 5 percent and the
share of applications that were for refinancing declined from 39.4 percent to
38.5 percent. It was the smallest market share for refinancing since September
2008.

The Purchase Index was
down by 2 percent on both a seasonally adjusted and an unadjusted basis.  The unadjusted index was 5 percent higher than
its level during the same week in 2017.

Applications
for FHA mortgages accounted for 10.1 percent of the total, up from 9.9 percent
a week earlier while the VA share was unchanged at 10.3 percent. The USDA share
remained at 0.8 percent.  

With few
exceptions MBA reported a decline in both contract and effective interest
rates. One outlier was the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) with balances at
or under the conforming loan limit of $453,100. The contract rate for that
product was unchanged at 4.69 percent with 0.43 points. The effective rate was
also unchanged.

The rate for jumbo
30-year FRM
, loans with loan balances greater than $453,100, decreased to 4.56
percent from 4.60 percent. Points were also down, from 0.36 to 0.27 and the
effective rate declined.

FHA-backed 30-year
FRM
had an average contract rate of 4.74 percent with 0.54 point.  The previous week the rate was 4.75 percent
with 0.56 point.  The effective rate was
also lower.  

The rate for
15-year FRM
was unchanged at 4.09 percent but points dipped to 0.42 from 0.46.
The effective rate declined.

The
average contract interest rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) fell 5
basis points to 3.87 percent and points decreased to 0.28 from 0.46. The
effective rate decreased from last week. The share of applications that were
for ARMs declined to 6.5 percent from 7.0 percent a week earlier.

MBA’s
Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers
over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.  Respondents include mortgage bankers,
commercial banks and thrifts.  Base
period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100 and interest rate
information is based on loans with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio and points
that include the origination fee.



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