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Sharp Rebound in Mortgage Applications


Mortgage applications recorded an increase at 23.5 percent this week, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. This week's results include an adjustment for the New Year's Day holiday.

The survey released on Wednesday revealed a steady increase at 68 percent on an unadjusted basis. The Refinance Index increased 35 percent and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 17 percent, compared to the week prior. Data for unadjusted Purchase Index reflects an increase of 59 percent this week—up by 4 percent from than the same week one year ago.

The volume of refinance loan applications actively increased reflecting the highest level since February 2018 at 45.8 percent of total applications. The refinance share of mortgages was at 42.7 percent the previous week. An increase in adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) activities is at 8.4 percent of total applications.

In government loan applications, the FHA increased to 10.3 percent from 10.0 percent in the past week. The survey revealed a rise in VA share of total applications at 11.6 percent—the highest level since March— this week compared to 11.0 the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.6 percent.

Here’s how the average contract interest rates performed for various loans:

  • For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances decreased to 4.74 percent, the lowest level since April 2018.
  • The rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances decreased to 4.52 percent, the lowest level since February 2018.
  • FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.70 percent, the lowest level since April 2018, from 4.86 percent.
  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.16 percent, the lowest level since April 2018, from 4.25 percent.
  • The rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 4.05 percent from 4.16 percent.

The effective rate for all the above loan types recorded a decrease from last week.

"This drop in rates spurred a flurry of refinance activity-particularly for borrowers with larger loans - and pushed the average loan size on refinance applications to the highest in the survey (at $339,800). The surge in refinance activity also brought the refinance index to its highest level since last July," said Joel Kan, AVP of Economic and Industry Forecasting at MBA.

by Donna Joseph (via

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