FHA mortgage applications surge on low interest rates

Mortgage & Real Estate

With last week’s mortgage rates continuing to hover near historic lows, the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates mortgage applications ticked up by 3.8%.

This means on an unadjusted basis, the index moved forward 3.8% for the week ending on Dec. 11, 2019.

Applications rose significantly for Federal Housing Administration loans, as FHA borrowers sought to refinance their mortgages thanks to near-yearly lows in interest rates on FHA loans.

Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said low mortgage rates continue to be on-trend as 2019 comes to an end, and mortgage applications responded accordingly last week.

“The 30-year fixed mortgage rate remained under 4% for the fourth straight week, and rates for FHA loans declined close to their lowest level of the year,” Kan said. “The decrease in FHA rates led to a 27% jump in refinance applications for those loans, and their share of refinance activity – at 14%– was the highest since 2016.”

According to the MBA, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index fell by 0.4% from one week earlier, while the unadjusted Purchase Index increased by 35% from the previous week.

Although purchase applications declined slightly from the previous week, Kan said they were still 5% higher than a year ago, which is still in line with the gradual growth seen in the purchase market throughout 2018.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of this week’s mortgage application data:

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 62.4% from last week’s 59%.The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity rose to 5% of total applications from the previous week’s 4.8%.The Federal Housing Administration’s share of mortgage apps rose to 13.9% from last week’s 12%.The Department of Veterans Affairs share of applications fell to 12.4% from last week’s 12.7%.The Department of Agriculture share of total applications remained unchanged from last week’s 0.5%.Mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased from last week’s rate of 3.97% to 3.98%.The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) decreased from last week’s 3.91% to 3.9%.The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA fell to 3.79% from last week’s 3.83%.The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages held steady from last week’s 3.37%.The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs rose to 3.52% from last week’s 3.28%.
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