Mortgage Applications Fell a Smidge, Despite Lower Rates

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Mortgage application volume fell a smidge during the week ended Nov. 1, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey.

Total volume decreased 0.1%, on an adjusted basis. Applications for refinances increased 2% while applications for purchases fell 3%. 

Due to low mortgage rates, applications for refinances were up 144% compared with the same week one year earlier.

On an unadjusted basis, total volume decreased 1% compared with the previous week. Applications for purchases decreased 4% on an unadjusted basis but were 7% higher compared with the same week one year earlier. 

“U.S. Treasury yields once again exhibited some intra-week volatility before declining sharply toward the end of the week,” says Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting for the MBA, in a statement. “As a result, mortgage rates decreased, with the 30-year fixed rate falling below four percent again. In response to the lower rates, refinance applications climbed two percent, as homeowners with larger loan balances helped to keep the average refinance loan size elevated. Purchase applications fell slightly last week but remained almost seven percent higher than a year ago.

Kan says although the inventory of affordable homes is currently constrained, “there’s evidence that high-end homebuyers are more active this fall.”

“The average loan size for purchase applications increased to its highest level since May,” he says. 

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 59.5% of total applications, up from 58.0% the previous week.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained unchanged at 5.2% of total applications. 

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.98%, down from 4.05%.

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