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Mortgage Applications Volume in U.S. Dips in Late February

Mortgage Applications Volume in U.S. Dips in Late February


According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 1, 2019, mortgage applications in the U.S. decreased 2.5 percent from one week earlier. The results for the week ending February 22, 2019, included an adjustment for the Washington's Birthday (Presidents' Day) holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 10 percent compared with the previous week.

The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 11 percent compared with the previous week and was 1 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

"Slightly higher mortgages rates last week led to a decrease in application volume. Furthermore, the average loan size for purchase applications increased to a record high, led by a rise in the average size of conventional loans. This suggests that move-up and higher-end buyers have so far become a greater share of the spring market," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. "Overall, conventional purchase loans are up 2.1 percent relative to last year, indicating that homebuyers continue to be inspired by the stable rate environment and the modest increase in housing supply."

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 40.0 percent of total applications from 40.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.4 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.3 percent from 10.2 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.4 percent from 10.7 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.6 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased to 4.67 percent from 4.65 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.42 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) increased to 4.41 percent from 4.40 percent, with points decreasing to 0.25 from 0.29 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 4.66 percent from 4.64 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.48 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.08 percent from 4.00 percent, with points increasing to 0.46 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 4.08 percent from 3.95 percent, with points decreasing to 0.39 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

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