mortgage refinancing
MBA Mortgage applications continue to rise on falling mortgage rates


With last week’s mortgage rates continuing to hover near historic lows, the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates mortgage applications ticked up by 3.8%.

This means on an unadjusted basis, the index moved forward 3.8% for the week ending on Dec. 11, 2019.

Applications rose significantly for Federal Housing Administration loans, as FHA borrowers sought to refinance their mortgages thanks to near-yearly lows in interest rates on FHA loans.

Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said low mortgage rates continue to be on-trend as 2019 comes to an end, and mortgage applications responded accordingly last week.

“The 30-year fixed mortgage rate remained under 4% for the fourth straight week, and rates for FHA loans declined close to their lowest level of the year,” Kan said. “The decrease in FHA rates led to a 27% jump in refinance applications for those loans, and their share of refinance activity – at 14%– was the highest since 2016.”

According to the MBA, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index fell by 0.4% from one week earlier, while the unadjusted Purchase Index increased by 35% from the previous week.

Although purchase applications declined slightly from the previous week, Kan said they were still 5% higher than a year ago, which is still in line with the gradual growth seen in the purchase market throughout 2018.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of this week’s mortgage application data:

  • The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 62.4% from last week’s 59%.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity rose to 5% of total applications from the previous week’s 4.8%.
  • The Federal Housing Administration’s share of mortgage apps rose to 13.9% from last week’s 12%.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs share of applications fell to 12.4% from last week’s 12.7%.
  • The Department of Agriculture share of total applications remained unchanged from last week’s 0.5%.
  • Mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased from last week’s rate of 3.97% to 3.98%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) decreased from last week’s 3.91% to 3.9%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA fell to 3.79% from last week’s 3.83%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages held steady from last week’s 3.37%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs rose to 3.52% from last week’s 3.28%.



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