Mortgage Applications Rise as 30-Year Fixed Rates Fall

Mortgage & Real Estate









Mortgage applications increased slightly last week due to higher refinance and purchase activity.

The Mortgage Bankers Association market composite index was up 0.9% for the period ending Dec. 19. The week before, loan applications fell by 3.3%.

Both the refinance and purchase index jumped 1% week over week, the Washington-based trade group said.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 67% of total applications, which is up one percentage point from a week earlier. Adjustable-rate mortgages consisted of 6.5% of the overall volume, a three-basis-point increase week over week. Mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration made up 8.6% of the total activity, down one basis point. Additionally, Veterans Affairs applications dropped three basis points and now represent 10.3% of all activity, while the USDA share held steady at 0.8%.

Interest rates for jumbo loans surpassed conforming mortgages during this weekly period. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed mortgages with jumbo loan balances greater than $417,000 increased to 4.07% from 3.99%. Meanwhile, a 30-year fixed mortgage with conforming loan balances below $417,000 fell to its lowest level since May 2013, to 4.02%.

Furthermore, 30-year FHA-backed mortgages saw average interest rates drop five basis points, to 3.81%. The average interest rate for 15-year fixed mortgages fell four basis points, to 3.29%.

The MBA survey covers over 75% of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.

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