Refinance Applications Increase 9.3%, MBA Reports

Mortgage applications increased 4.1% last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports.

The MBA's Refinance Index grew 9.3% from the previous week to its highest level since Nov. 4. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 8.2%, and the unadjusted Purchase Index fell 11.8%. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 79.7% of total applications from 76% the previous week.

For the month of November, purchase applications decreased in all loan categories except for loan amounts greater than $729,000, which saw a 1.9% increase in applications from last month, the MBA says. Loans that were $150,000 or less had 10.7% fewer applications over the month, while applications for loans between $150,000 and $300,000 decreased 8.9%, and applications for loans between $300,000 and $417,000 decreased 8.6%.

Of the higher balance loans, the category for loans between $417,000 and $625,000 had a 6% increase in applications, and the number of applications for loans between $625,000 and $729,000 decreased 5.2% over the month.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) decreased from 4.18% to 4.12% last week – the lowest rate this year, the MBA reports.

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