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Purchase Activity, Rates Inch Up

Mortgage News

Refinance inquiries moved slightly higher last week as average rates nudged up. But inquiries for loans to finance home purchases strengthened. It looks like rates could end this week a little lower than last week.

The average loan originator pulled the same number of pricing inquiries last week as they did a week earlier, leaving the U.S. Mortgage Market Index from Mortech Inc. and MortgageDaily.com for the week ended Nov. 18 at 242.

The index was unchanged despite that rates were higher, likely reflecting a slowdown the prior week from Veteran’s Day.

The index, however, was down 17 percent from the week ended Nov. 17, 2010.

Refinance transactions drifted down 2 percent from the previous week and were off 6 percent from the same week last year. Refinance share inched down to 65 percent from 66 percent was 57 percent a year prior. The latest refinance share reflected a 50 percent rate-term share and a 14 percent cashout share.

One bright spot was purchase activity, which increased 3 percent over the prior seven days. But the level of purchase inquiries remains 31 percent lower than the same week in 2010.

Conventional and Federal Housing Administration loan inquiries were the same as week earlier, and FHA share slipped to 10.81 percent from 10.85 percent.

The 30-year mortgage climbed 3 basis points from a week earlier to average 4.23 in last week’s report. The 30 year was 4.41 percent in the year-earlier report.

Jumbo borrowers paid a 60-basis-point premium over conforming borrowers, the same as the previous week. The jumbo-conforming spread was 87 BPS a year prior.

The discount for a 15-year loan over 30-year mortgages inched up to 65 BPS from 64 BPS and was 66 BPS in the same week during 2010.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed today at 1.97 percent versus the 2.02 percent average for last week. The improvement points to a decline of around 5 BPS by this Friday’s report.

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