Mortgage apps slow prior to home purchase season start

Mortgage apps slow prior to home purchase season start

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Mortgage application activity decreased 3.3% from one week earlier as purchase and refinance volume fell prior to the start of the home buying season, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 30 found that the refinance index decreased 5% from the previous week.

“Heading into the holiday weekend, mortgage application volume fell a bit both for purchase and refinance volume,” said the MBA’s Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni in a press release. “Mortgage rates were little changed for the week, despite the increase in financial market volatility.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to its lowest level since September 2008, 38.5% of total applications, from 39.4% the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased 2% from one week earlier. The unadjusted purchase index decreased 2% compared with the previous week and was 5% higher than the same week one year ago.

Adjustable-rate loan activity decreased to 6.5% from 7%, while the share of Federal Housing Administration-guaranteed loans increased to 10.1% from 9.9% the week prior.

The share of applications for Veterans Affairs-guaranteed loans remained unchanged at 10.3% and the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Rural Development share also remained unchanged, at 0.8%.

Going forward, “potential homebuyers may be a little rattled by the swings in the stock market the past few weeks, but the job market continues to strengthen, which should power demand through the spring season. The main uncertainty remains whether enough listings will be available to meet this demand,” Fratantoni said.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) remained unchanged at 4.69%. For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $453,100), the average contract rate decreased 4 basis points to 4.56%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased 1 basis point to 4.74%. For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages the average rate remained unchanged at 4.09%.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased 5 basis points to 3.87%.

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