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Interest rates jump, mortgage application volume falls 12.3%

December 19, 2012
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Mortgage application volume falls despite Fed’s announcement

According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 14, 2012, mortgage application volume fell 12.3 percent from the previous week.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 12.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 13 percent compared with the previous week.

The Refinance Index decreased 14.0 percent from the previous week to the lowest level since week ending November 2, 2012. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 5.0 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 8.0 percent compared with the previous week and was 9 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Despite the Federal Reserve’s announcement last week that it would purchase an additional $45 billion in Treasury securities per month as part of its continuing quantitative easing effort, rates increased in the second half of the week,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “As a result, refinance applications dropped sharply to the lowest level in over a month.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 83 percent of total applications from 84 percent the previous week, after months of hovering around 81 percent. The HARP share of refinance applications fell to 25 percent. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3 percent of total applications.

Average interest rates

According to the MBA:

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  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) increased to 3.50 percent from 3.47 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) decreased to 3.73 percent, the lowest rate in the history of the survey, from 3.77 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.34 percent from 3.32 percent, with points increasing to 0.54 from 0.51 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 2.83 percent, the lowest rate in the history of the survey, from 2.85 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.26 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 2.61 percent from 2.63 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
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Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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