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Mortgage Applications Increase for 3rd Straight Week in MBA Weekly Survey

Robinson, Matt
Mortgage applications rose for the third straight week to start the new year as key interest rates remained virtually unchanged, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported in its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 18. 

The Market Composite Index increased by 7.0 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased by 8 percent compared to the previous week. 

The Refinance Index increased by 8 percent from the previous week. The refinance share of mortgage activity was unchanged from the previous week at 82 percent of total applications.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased by 3 percent from one week earlier and reached its highest level since May 2010, immediately following expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. This increase in purchase applications came primarily from conventional loans, as the seasonally adjusted Conventional Purchase Index hit its highest level since October 2009. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased by 9 percent compared to the previous week and was 26 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) increased to 3.62 percent from 3.61 percent, with points increasing to 0.43 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans. The contract interest rate for 30-year fixed mortgages has increased for five of the last six weeks. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) decreased to 3.85 percent from 3.88 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.38 (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 3.40 percent from 3.39 percent, with points decreasing to 0.53 from 0.58 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 2.87 percent from 2.88 percent, with points increasing to 0.39 from 0.27 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages decreased to 2.61 percent from 2.66 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The ARM share of activity increased to 4 percent of total applications.

The survey covers more than 75 percent of all U.S. retail and consumer direct residential mortgage applications and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.