Industry NewsMortgage

Demand for mortgages picks up

Refi gains outweigh slump in purchase applications

Mortgage applications were up 5.3 percent for the week ending April 17, as increased demand for refinancings outweighed a decline in demand for purchase loans, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. Refinance applications were up 7.7 percent from the previous week, while applications for purchase loans fell a seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent, the MBA said in releasing the results of its Weekly Mortgage Application Survey. Applications for conventional purchase loans were down 4.6 percent, while applications for government-backed loans, largely FHA, fell 3.6 percent. Applications for refinancings accounted for 79.7 percent of total demand, up from 77.8 percent the previous week and 49.2 percent a year ago. Looking back a year, applications for both purchase and refinance loans were up 84 percent. Applications for refinance loans were up 186 percent from a year ago, while applications for purchase loans were down 29 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixe...