Mortgage applications up 2.7% as purchases jump

by Steve Randall09 May 2019

There was an increase in mortgage applications last week as homebuyers entered the spring buying market.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 3, 2019, shows a 2.7% increase in its Market Composite Index on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the previous week.

This was driven by a 4% increase for the Purchase Index (adjusted) with a 5% increase unadjusted. This index was up 5% from a year ago.

For refinances, the index was up 1% week-over-week.

"We saw a good week for the spring homebuying season, as a 5 percent increase in purchase applications - both weekly and year-over-year - drove the results," said Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "Average loan amounts also stayed elevated, with government purchase applications rising to the highest in the survey. Even with slower price appreciation in higher-priced markets, home prices are still rising enough to push average loan sizes higher."

The refinance share of applications was down to 37.9%, its lowest since November 2018.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.4% of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications remained unchanged at 9.5%; the VA share increased to 11.1% from 10.9%; and the USDA share remained unchanged at 0.6%.

Mortgage rates

  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) decreased to 4.41 percent from 4.42 percent, with points increasing to 0.47 from 0.46 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) decreased to 4.27 percent from 4.31 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.23 (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 4.44 percent from 4.39 percent, with points increasing to 0.56 from 0.47 (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 remained unchanged from 3.81 percent, with points increasing to 0.42 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.88 percent from 3.81 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.54 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.