Refinance Applications Rise, Purchases Decline

Refinance application volume was up 3% for the week ended Sept. 27 as rates continued to decline, hitting levels seen back in June, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But an observer noted the government shutdown could have an impact on future activity.

Total application volume declined 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is because purchase application volume fell 6% on a seasonally adjusted basis. On an unadjusted basis, purchase application activity is down 3% compared with the same week in 2012. The share of refi apps moved up to 63% from 61%.’s Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar found the average rate for conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by eleven basis points to 4.38% as of Tuesday.

While the lower rates are great for mortgage shoppers, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of, “what’s not great is that it comes as the government has ground to a halt, making it hard for mortgage lenders to get verification of tax returns or even Social Security numbers. This is likely to slow the loan approval process.”

According to the MBA application survey, the interest rate for all types of fixed-rate mortgages tracked are at their lowest level since June. The average contract rate for the 30-year conforming FRM (MBA defines this as a loan with a balance of $417,500 or under) for the survey period is 4.49%, down 13 basis points from the previous week. Federal Housing Administration-insured loans had an average contract rate for the week of 4.21%, a decrease of 11 basis points from the previous week.

Jumbo 30-year FRMs saw the average contract fell by 13 basis points to 4.53%. The MBA said the rate for the 15-year FRM decreased 13 basis points to 3.55%.

The average contract rate for the 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage decreased 13 basis points to 3.26%, also the lowest since June. ARMs made up just 6% of the weeks applications.

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