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Mortgage Market Index
A barometer of upcoming originations, the Mortgage Market Index includes data on jumbo, FHA and refinance activity.

Refi Business Sinks as Rates Rise

Mortgage Market Index 165 for week ended March 15

March 15, 2013

By Mortgage Daily staff

Increasing interest rates are having a negative impact on new mortgage activity, with conventional refinance business taking the biggest hit. Most categories have increased from a year ago -- with jumbo business seeing the biggest gain. The benefit of a shorter term loan improved this week.

The volume of rate locks tumbled a quarter from last week, leaving the U.S. Mortgage Market Index from Optimal Blue and Mortgage Daily for the week ended March 15 at 165. However, the index still stands 19 percent higher than it did during the same week last year.

The year-prior statistics were revised to account for a change in data providers.

A nearly one-third drop from the week ended March 8 was posted for refinance activity -- more than any other category. Still, refinance volume was up 10 percent from 12 months prior.

Refinance share fell to 39.5 percent from the previous week's 43.6 percent and the year earlier's 42.6 percent. This week's share reflected a 29.5 percent rate-term share and a 9.9 percent cashout share.

Conventional activity saw the next-biggest drop, down more than a quarter from last week. Conventional rate lock volume was up a quarter from the week ended March 16, 2012.

After that was jumbo business, which fell 21 percent for the week. But, like the other categories, jumbo business increased from a year prior -- by 70 percent.  Jumbo rate locks accounted for 10.5 percent of this week's activity, widening from last week's 9.9 percent jumbo share and the 7.3 percent share reported for the same week in 2012.

Jumbo loans were priced at an 18-basis-point premium over conforming loans, not quite as good as the 17-basis-point jumbo-conforming spread in the last report. But the premium for a jumbo loan has plummeted from 47 BPS at the same point in 2012.

Loan originators locked in 20 percent fewer purchase-money applications than in the prior week. But purchase financing activity was up more than a quarter from 12 months earlier.

A 15 percent decline from the previous report was recorded for adjustable-rate mortgages, while ARM activity has subsided 16 percent from the same week in the previous year.

ARM share, meanwhile, increased to 5.1 percent from the previous week's 4.5 percent but was down from 7.3 percent a year-earlier.

The best-performing category in the latest report was Federal Housing Administration rate locks, which fell 14 percent from the previous report. FHA business was barely changed from a year prior.

FHA share climbed to 21.6 percent from 18.9 percent and exceeded a quarter a year ago.

Mortgage rates rose for the second consecutive week, with the average 30-year, fixed-rate, conforming mortgage increasing to 3.997 percent from the prior week's 3.875 percent. Thirty-year rates, however, have fallen 25 basis points over the last year.

Borrowers who opted for a 15-year mortgage had a rate that was 85 BPS better than 30-year borrowers. The spread between 15- and 30-year loans widened from 80 BPS in the previous report and 75 BPS in the same week during 2012.

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Full Mortgage Market Index Report

Week Ended March 15, 2013

National Average Loan Amount $226,915

Rate-Term Refinance Share 29.54%
Cashout Refinance Share 9.92%
Total Refinance Share 39.46%

Purchase Share 60.54%

FHA Share 21.61%

ARM Share 5.13%

Jumbo Share 10.48%

Mortgage Market Index 164.610

Conforming 30-Year Fixed-Rate Average 3.997%
Conforming 15-Year Fixed-Rate Average 3.152%
Jumbo 30-Year Fixed-Rate Average 4.176%

Mortgage Market Index 165 for week ended March 15

back to main Mortgage Market Index page

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About the Mortgage Market Index
The U.S. Mortgage Market Index was first launched in December 2009 at 197.

The index, itself, reflects the average number of per-user rate locks by clients of OpenClose for the seven days ended each Thursday at midnight. OpenClose has been the data provider since June 2015.

The MMI is an excellent indicator of upcoming mortgage originations.

A byproduct of the Mortgage Market Index is a full report each week that includes the latest share by loan type, the jumbo-conforming spread and details about refinance and government activity -- as well as other important mortgage data.

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