According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 2, 2019, U.S. mortgage applications increased 5.3 percent from one week earlier.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 5.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 5 percent compared with the previous week.
The Refinance Index increased 12 percent from the previous week and was 116 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 7 percent higher than the same week one year ago.
"The Federal Reserve cut rates as expected last week, but the bigger influence on the financial markets was the beginning of a trade war with China. The result was a sharp drop in mortgage rates, which will likely draw many refinance borrowers into the market in the coming weeks," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. "The 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to its lowest level since November 2016, and the drop resulted in an almost 12 percent increase in refinance application volume, bringing the index to a reading over 2,000 - its highest over the same time period. We fully expect that refinance volume will jump even higher this week given the further drop in rates."
Added Fratantoni, "Lower mortgage rates did not pull more homebuyers into the market, as purchase volume slipped a bit last week, but still remains around 7 percent ahead of last year's pace."
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 53.9 percent of total applications from 50.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained unchanged at 4.7 percent of total applications.
The FHA share of total applications decreased to 11.0 percent from 11.3 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 12.8 percent from 12.6 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) decreased to 4.01 percent from 4.08 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 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 $484,350) decreased to 3.96 percent from 4.04 percent, with points increasing to 0.26 from 0.22 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
The Federal Reserve cut its federal funds rate today by 25 basis points (bps) to a range of 2.0% to 2.25%. This cut represents a marked change in the direction of monetary policy in the first half of 2019.
Marking the one-year anniversary of the White House executive order on workforce development this week, Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders issued the following statement
Existing-home sales in the U.S. weakened in June 2019, as total sales saw a small decline after a previous month of gains. While two of the four major U.S. regions recorded minor sales jumps, the other two - the South and the West - experienced greater declines last month.
According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, after declining for most of 2019, U.S. mortgage rates remained mostly unchanged this first week of July. The recent stabilization in mortgage rates reflects modestly improving U.S. economic data.
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