Mortgage applications increased 2.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 30, 2018. The results for the week ending November 23, 2018, included an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday.
… The Refinance Index increased 6 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 36 percent compared with the previous week and was 0.2 percent higher than the same week one year ago.
“Treasury rates continued to slide last week, driven mainly by concerns over slowing global economic growth and U.S. and China trade uncertainty. The 30-year fixed-rate fell for the third week in a row to 5.08 percent and has declined a total of nine basis points over this span,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Application activity increased over the week for both purchase and refinance loans, and were 10 percent and 7 percent higher, respectively, than the week before the Thanksgiving holiday. Additionally, we saw a decrease in the average loan size for purchase applications to the lowest since December 2017 ($298,000 from $313,000). This is perhaps an indication that there are fewer jumbo borrowers, or maybe first-time buyers are having better success reaching the market as we close out the year.”
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) decreased to 5.08 percent from 5.12 percent, with points decreasing to 0.44 from 0.46 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
Click on graph for larger image.
The first graph shows the refinance index since 1990.
Refinance activity will not pick up significantly unless mortgage rates fall 50 bps or more from the recent level.
The second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index
According to the MBA, purchase activity is up 0.2% year-over-year.