Mortgage Insights

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Lower Mortgage Rates Help Boost Refinance Activity

Nov 9, 2017

A new report released by the MBA shows that mortgage application activity was relatively subdued last week. The changes that did take place in the association’s Market Composite Index were minute and not really directional.

This is the first time since the middle of 2013 that this index has not even made a marginal move. Before making adjustments, however, it dropped by 1%.

Although there was a 1% drop in the Refinance Index compared to the previous week, the refinance portion of all mortgage transactions crept up from 48.7% to 49%. On an unadjusted basis, the Purchase Index dropped by 2%, but it increased by 1% after adjustments. There was also a 9% increase in purchase mortgage volume compared to the same period a year ago.

The market share of government-backed home loans inched up slightly, while the FHA share rose from 10.4% to 10.6% and the VA share increased from 9.9% to 10.0%. In the case of USDA mortgage applications, there was a drop from 0.8% to 0.7% in market share.

This coincided with an across-the-board drop in mortgage rates. On a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the average rate dropped from 4.22% to 4.18%, while points fell from 0.43 to 0.38.

In the case of 30-year fixed-rate jumbo loans (loans with a balance greater than $424,100), the average rate dropped by 4 basis points to 4.16%, while points dropped from 0.27 to 0.24. For 30-year fixed-rate FHA mortgages, the average rate reached 4.05%, with points of 0.43, compared to 4.07% and 0.46 the week before.

Rates for 15-year fixed-rate loans on average dropped by 1 basis point to 3.51%, while points remained the same at 0.44.

The market share of adjustable-rate mortgages fell from 6.8% to 6.6%, while the average rate remained the same at 3.33%, although points increased from 0.50 to 0.59.

The MBA has been carrying out its weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for 27 years. It covers more than three fourths of all retail residential mortgage applications in the nation.

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