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Mortgage Applications Down 2.5%

Mortgage applications fell 2.5% last week compared to the previous week, with the overall yearly volume down 16%. According to to the Mortgage Bankers Association report released earlier today, US consumers filed fewer loan applications to buy and refinance homes.

Key Takeaways

  • Total mortgage application volume fell 2.5 percent last week to 329.5.
  • Two weeks ago the reading was 322.1, the lowest since late 2014.
  • Volume was 16 percent lower than a year ago, when mortgage rates were nearly a full percentage point lower.
  • An MBA economist believes the recent rate hike and stock market volatility may be to blame for the recent drop.

Interest rates on 30-year conforming mortgages worth $453,100 or less were unchanged at 5.11%, the highest since February 2011 with points decreasing from 0.52 to 0.50 for loans with down payments of 20%.

The data is in keeping with the drop in home sales which have been winding down throughout the last quarter, with a slight boost in September arguably due to buyers closing deals to avoid further rate hikes coming up that month and in late 2018.

Refinancing mortgages dropped 4% and were 32% lower than the same time last year with refinance share of mortgage activity down from 39.8 to 39.4 week over week.

Adjustable-rate mortgage applications shares have increased to 7.6% of all applications, arguably more due to a decrease in fixed-term applications than an increase in ARMs which are popular due to lower interest rates fixed for 10 years.

The Federal Housing Administration share of mortgage apps rose from last week’s 10.1% to 10.3%, and the Veterans Affairs' share of applications decreased to 9.8% from 10.1% last week.

The Department of Agriculture share of total applications remained at 0.7%. As bonds continue to weaken, mortgage rates continue to climb this week.

Interest Rate Changes

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed rate FHA-backed mortgages increased by 0.1% to 5.08%. The average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages increased .05% to 4.55% this week, and the rate for 5/1 ARMs dropped from 4.47% to 4.33% compared to last week.

Expert Outlook

According to Joel Kan, MBA’s assistant vice president of economic and industry forecasts, the purchase application was down year-over-year with a number of potential influencing factors:

"Purchase applications may have been adversely impacted by the recent uptick in rates and the significant stock market volatility we have seen the past couple of weeks”.

"Rates are at risk of bouncing higher more noticeably unless they get some serious help," wrote Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. "That help would either need to come from surprisingly weak economic data, an even bigger downturn in stocks, or an unexpected headline that implies big economic risks."