Mortgage rates, applications take a plunge

by MPA07 Jan 2015
Historically, the mortgage industry experiences a slowdown during the holiday season, but this time around it was particularly quiet.

For the week ending January 2, 2015, total mortgage application volume was down 9.1%  from two weeks earlier, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The most recent week’s results include an adjustment to account for the New Year’s Day holiday, while the previous week’s results were adjusted for the Christmas holiday.

The Refinance Index decreased 12% from two weeks ago, while the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 5% from two weeks earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 33% compared with two weeks ago. The Purchase Index was 8% lower than the same week one year ago.

While the index changes were calculated relative to two weeks prior, the following compositional and rate measures are presented relative to the previous week only.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 65% of total applications from 63% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 4.9% of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 9.3% this week from 9.2% last week. The VA share of total applications increased to 10.7% this week from 10.5% last week. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.9% this week.

Rates reach 19-month low

Meanwhile, mortgage rates have hit a 19-month low, according to Zillow. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate on Zillow is currently 3.58%, down 14 basis points from this time last week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose early in the week, peaking at 4.03% on Friday before falling to the current rate.

"Rates fell dramatically last week primarily due to fears of slowing global growth, weak equity markets, falling oil prices and low market activity over the New Year's holiday," said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. "Given the recent history of markets largely overlooking strong U.S. data, we expect rates to remain flat or fall slightly this week on international news."

The rate for a 15-year fixed home loan is currently 2.88%, while the rate for a 5-1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is 2.71%.

Below are current rates for 30-year fixed mortgages by state. Additional states' rates are available at

  State Current
Fixed Rate
Last Week's
Fixed Rate
Change in
  California Mortgage Rates 3.58% 3.74% -16  
  Colorado Mortgage Rates 3.56% 3.69% -13  
  Florida Mortgage Rates 3.58% 3.75% -17  
  Illinois Mortgage Rates 3.56% 3.73% -17  
  Massachusetts Mortgage Rates 3.61% 3.71% -10  
  New Jersey Mortgage Rates 3.59% 3.71% -12  
  New York Mortgage Rates 3.61% 3.76% -15  
  Pennsylvania Mortgage Rates 3.60% 3.71% -11  
  Texas Mortgage Rates 3.58% 3.71% -13  
  Washington Mortgage Rates 3.62% 3.75% -13