Mortgage Applications Jumped, Driven by 9% Increase in Refinance Volume

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Mortgage application volume increased 3.8% on an adjusted basis during the week ended Nov. 29, as mortgage rates remained more or less flat, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey.

The results include an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Most of the increase was due to a strong uptick in applications for refinances, which increased 9% compared with the previous week.

Applications for refinances were up 146% compared with the same week one year earlier.

Applications for purchases dipped 0.4%. 

On an unadjusted basis, total volume increased 47% compared with the previous week. Applications for purchases increased 35%, on an unadjusted basis, compared with the previous week, and were 5% higher compared with the same week one year ago. 

“Low mortgage rates continue to be the trend as 2019 comes to an end, and mortgage applications responded accordingly last week, rising 3.8 percent,” says Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting for the MBA, in a statement. “The 30-year fixed mortgage rate remained under four percent for the fourth straight week, and rates for FHA loans declined close to their lowest level of the year.

“The decrease in FHA rates led to a 27 percent jump in refinance applications for those loans, and their share of refinance activity – at 14 percent – was the highest since 2016,” Kan says.

Kan adds that the November jobs report shows “increased payroll gains and low unemployment, which means conditions remain favorable for steady purchase growth in the coming months.” 

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 62.4% of total applications, up from 59.0% the previous week.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.0% of total applications.

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