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Refinances Push Mortgage Applications Up Again

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Despite a week-over-week drop in purchase activity, refinance business drove overall mortgage applications higher. Refinances were busier for the second week in a row.

The number of retail applications that were completed in the week ended July 21 for residential loans edged up less than a seasonally adjusted 1 percent from the preceding week.

That was according to the Market Composite Index,
a measure of mortgage loan application volume. The index increased 1 percent when seasonal factors are not considered.

The Mortgage Bankers Association provided the details as part of its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. More than three-quarters of all applications are reportedly covered by the survey.

For people who were applying for a refinance, volume rose 3 percent from the week ended July 14 — when refinances climbed 13 percent from the preceding week. At 46.0 percent, refinance share was wider than 44.7 percent in the last report but far more narrow than 61.1 percent in the same week last year.

Prospective borrowers on applications for loans to finance a home purchase
were less interested most recently, with a seasonally adjusted 2 percent decline to the lowest level since May. The drop was the same without seasonal adjustments, while an 8 percent year-over-year increase was recorded.

The trade group reported that applications for mortgages insured by the
Federal Housing Administration made up 10.2 percent of overall activity. FHA share thinned from 10.7 percent a week earlier and were little changed from 10.1 percent one year earlier.

The share of applications for loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs
was trimmed to 10.5 percent from 10.7 percent. VA share was much thinner, though, than 11.9 percent during the same seven-day period in 2016.

Of all applications completed, 6.8 percent were for adjustable-rate mortgages.
In the prior report, ARM share was 6.7 percent, and it was just 4.7 percent a year prior.

Applications for jumbo mortgages had average interest rates that were 11 basis points lower than conforming rates. The jumbo-conforming spread ballooned from 4 BPS the previous week and swung from a positive 2 BPS the same week a year ago.

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