Overall mortgage applications were up 3.2 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 5.3 percent to 410.2 from 389.7 the previous week, and the refinance index increased by 0.1 percent to 1,597 from 1,594.7 one week earlier.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 40.3 percent of total applications from 41 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 25.5 percent of total applications from 26.2 percent the previous week, and is now at its lowest level since October 2003.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.32 percent from 6.31 percent, with points including the origination fee decreasing to 1.06 from 1.1 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans. 

Points, which are fees charged by lenders for loan processing, are expressed as a percent of the total loan amount.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.98 percent from 5.97 percent. Points including the origination fee decreased to 1.08 from 1.14 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans. 

The average contract interest rate for one-year ARMs increased to 5.96 percent from 5.91 percent, with points including the origination fee decreasing to 0.82 from 0.83 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

Washington, D.C.-based Mortgage Bankers Association is a national association representing the real estate finance industry. The survey covers approximately 50 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.

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