Mortgage Applications Took 4.7% Jump; Applications for Refinances Up 9%

Mortgage application volume increased an impressive 4.7% on an adjusted basis during the week ended Dec. 1, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

Most of the increase was driven by a 9% jump in applications for refinances – which pushed the refinance share of mortgage activity to 51.6% of total applications, up from 48.7% the previous week.

Applications for purchases increased 2% on an adjusted basis.

The surge in applications for refinances may have been driven in part by media reports that the Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates again later this month. Homeowners who were “refinance holdouts” may have been thinking that this was a last chance to lock in a lower rate.

On an unadjusted basis, total application volume increased 47% compared with the previous week. Applications for purchases increased 38% on an unadjusted basis and were up 8% compared with the same week one year earlier. This week’s report includes an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday, which was the previous week.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to its lowest level since January, at 5.7% of total applications.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.19%, down slightly from 4.2%.

The average rate for a 30-year FRM backed by the Federal Housing Administration was 4.11%, up from 4.07%.

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