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Purchase Mortgage Applications Jump, Refis Slump

Mortgage News

A solid week-over-week gain in the volume of applications for purchase financing was just enough to offset a sharp drop in refinance applications. Government share widened.

The home-lending industry’s barometer of mortgage application activity, the seasonally adjusted Market Composite Index, crept up less than a percent in the week ended Nov. 17 from a week prior.

However, when seasonal factors aren’t considered, the volume of retail residential loan applications declined 2 percent compared to the week ended Nov. 10.

The index is published by the Mortgage Bankers Association based on the Washington-based trade group’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, which reportedly covers more than three-quarters of all applications.

Refinance applications tumbled 5 percent from the preceding seven-day period. Refinance share was sliced to 49.9 percent from 51.3 percent a week earlier and
58.2 percent a year earlier.

Applications for purchase-money mortgages got a nice boost, climbing a seasonally adjusted 5 percent from the last report. Foregoing seasonality, the Purchase Index was up just 1 percent but was 4 percent stronger than the same seven days last year.

The share of business that was for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration grew to 10.6 percent from 10.2 percent. But FHA share was thinner than 11.7 percent in the week ended Nov. 18, 2016.

It was a similar story for the share of applications for mortgages guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which made up
10.7 of all applications versus 10.1 percent the prior week but was more narrow than 12.5 percent a year prior.

MBA had applications for adjustable-rate mortgages accounting for 6.5 percent of total volume.
ARM share widened from 6.4 percent in last week’s report and 5.2 percent in the report a year ago.

The survey revealed that interest rates on jumbo mortgages were
4 basis points lower than conforming rates, down from 6 BPS in the previous week. Jumbo rates were 12 BPS better than conforming rates in the same period last year.

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