Mortgage apps slip as rates inch back

by Francis Monfort26 Nov 2018

The volume of mortgage applications declined slightly during the week ending Nov. 16 as rates inched back across most loan types, according to the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 0.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis and 3% on an unadjusted basis. The results do not include an adjustment for the Veterans' Day holiday.

The Refinance Index decreased 5% from the previous week to its lowest level since December 2000. The Purchase Index increased 3% on a seasonally adjusted basis and decreased 1% on an unadjusted basis. The unadjusted Purchase Index was 5% lower than the same week one year ago.

Refinances accounted for 38.5% of all applications, down from its previous share of 39.4%. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity decreased to 7.3% of total applications.

Applications for FHA mortgages increased to 10.7% from 10.6%. The VA share of total applications increased to 10.6% from 10.1%. The share of USDA applications remained unchanged at 0.7%.

"Treasury rates declined last week, as equity markets continued to see large swings amidst investor concerns over global economic growth. As a result, mortgage rates inched back across most loan types, including the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, 5/1 ARM, and 30-year jumbo mortgage rate. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage also declined, stopping a run of six straight weekly increases," said Joel Kan, MBA's associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. "Mortgage applications saw mixed results last week. The Purchase Index increased to its highest level in five weeks, but despite the pause in rates, refinance activity dropped again and remained at its lowest level since 2000."