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Home Purchase Financing Jumps

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Although refinance activity dragged down overall loan inquiries this past week, more people inquired about loans to finance home purchases. Also higher were government-insured mortgage inquiries.

Pricing inquiries for residential loans fell 5 percent last week. That left the U.S. Mortgage Market Index from Mortech Inc. and Mortgage Daily for the week ended March 16 at 214. The index fell from 225 a week ago and 220 for the week ended March 18, 2011.

Inquiries for refinances pulled down the index, falling 9 percent from last week. But refinance business was 24 percent better than the same week last year.

Refinance share came in at 64 percent this week, dropping from 67 percent in the prior report but stronger than one-half a year earlier. This week’s share was comprised of a 13 percent cashout share and a 51 percent rate-term share.

Inquiries for mortgages to finance home purchases were up 4 percent from last week. However, purchase activity was down 30 percent from this week in 2011.

Also up from the report for the week ended March 9 were inquiries for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA MMI rose 2 percent from last week as FHA share climbed to 14 percent from 13 percent.

Conventional volume, however, was down 6 percent for the week.

As adjustable-rate mortgage share inched up to 10.001 percent from 9.882 percent a week ago, ARM inquiries crept 1 percent higher.

Jumbo loan inquiries accounted for 8.731 percent of all activity this week, up from 8.607 percent. But jumbo activity was still off 3 percent.

Jumbo activity slipped as the premium for large mortgages inched up to 60 basis points from a jumbo-conforming spread of 59 BPS a week ago. Still, jumbo pricing was better than a year ago, when the spread was 63 BPS.

The discount for 15-year loans was 75 BPS this week, not quite as good as 76 BPS last week and worse than 81 BPS one year prior.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.140 percent, lurching from 4.086 percent in the previous report. Thirty year loans averaged 4.859 percent this week last year.

An analysis of Treasury market activity puts mortgage rates around 15 BPS higher in the next Mortgage Market Index report. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note averaged 2.16 percent during the week of the most recent report and closed at 2.31 percent Friday, according to data from the Department of the Treasury.

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