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Mortgage Applications in U.S. Spike 30 Percent in Mid-January

Mortgage Applications in U.S. Spike 30 Percent in Mid-January


According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 10, 2020, U.S. mortgage applications increased 30.2 percent from one week earlier.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 30.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 67 percent compared with the previous week.

The Refinance Index increased 43 percent from the previous week and was 109 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 16 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 51 percent compared with the previous week and was 8 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

"The mortgage market saw a strong start to 2020. Applications increased across the board, and the 30- year fixed mortgage rate hit its lowest level since September 2019," said Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "Refinances increased for both conventional and government loans, as lower rates provided a larger incentive for borrowers to act. It remains to be seen if this strong refinancing pace is sustainable, but even with the robust activity the last two weeks, the level is still below what occurred last fall."

Added Kan, "Homebuyers were active the first week of the year. Purchase activity was 8 percent higher than a year ago, and the purchase index increased to its highest level since October 2009. Low rates and the solid job market continue to encourage prospective buyers to enter the market."

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 62.9 percent of total applications from 58.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 4.5 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 12.7 percent from 12.2 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.1 percent from 14.1 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.5 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) decreased to the lowest level since September 2019, 3.87 percent, from 3.91 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $510,400) decreased to the lowest level since November 2016, 3.83 percent, from 3.88 percent, with points increasing to 0.24 from 0.17 (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 decreased to the lowest level since October 2019, 3.78 percent, from 3.85 percent, with points increasing to 0.30 from 0.23 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to the lowest level since September 2019, 3.30 percent, from 3.35 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 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 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.35 percent from 3.19 percent, with points decreasing to 0.11 from 0.18 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

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