Mortgage Daily

Published On: December 19, 2003
Apps Ascend as Rates RelentNo pressure for mortgage rates to move

December 19, 2003


While inflation takes a vacation, long-term rates slipped for the second consecutive week and more people applied for home mortgages.

Mortgage loan application activity increased 12.6% from the previous week, bringing the Market Composite Index to 677.2, said the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA) in its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Dec. 12. The index was higher a year ago at 985.5.

The MBA said refinance applications jumped by 16.8%, with the Refinance Index at 2072.9. The refinance share of total applications edged up from the previous week to 51.8%. Meanwhile, the index for purchase money applications increased by 9.4% to 437.2.

As for rates, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average fell 6 basis points (BPS) from last week to 5.82%, said Freddie Mac in this week’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. At this same time last year, the average was 6.03%.

Down 10 BPS, Freddie averaged the 15-year at 5.14%.

Unchanged for the fourth consecutive week, Freddie said the one-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.77%. ARMs have been very popular lately due to the low rates, however, the ARM share of application activity decreased slightly to 28.0%, according to the MBA.

“Everyone is looking for inflation to appear, but no one seems able to find it,” said Freddie’s chief economist Frank Nothaft, in the announcement. “Thus, with no inflationary pressure mortgage rates have continued to slip for the past few weeks, and we expect to see no big change in rates anytime in the foreseeable future.

Coinciding with Nothaft, a majority, or 57%, of the mortgage industry expert panelists surveyed by said they expect rates to remain unchanged — plus or minus 2 BPS — over the next month and a half. But, the rest (43%) said rates would go up.

The 10-year treasury note yield was 4.12% late trading Thursday, with the price at 101. Last week, the yield closed at 4.29%.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for


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