Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MBA: Mortgage Applications increase, Record Low Mortgage Rates

by Bill McBride on 12/12/2012 07:01:00 AM

From the MBA: Mortgage Rates Drop to New Lows in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

The Refinance Index increased 8 percent from the previous week and is at its highest level since the week ending October 12, 2012. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent from one week earlier. ...

“Continued uncertainty due to the lack of resolution regarding the fiscal cliff led interest rates lower last week, with mortgage rates reaching a new low in our survey,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “Refinance activity increased, with the refinance index hitting its highest level in two months, and the refinance share reaching its highest level since January 2009. Applications for purchase increased for a fifth consecutive week, and are running almost ten percent above their level at this time last year.”
...
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) decreased to 3.47 percent, the lowest rate in the history of the survey, from 3.52 percent, with points decreasing to 0.36 from 0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
Refinance Index Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the refinance index.

The refinance activity is at the highest level in two months, and has been at a fairly high level all year.

The second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index.

Purchase IndexAs Fratantoni noted, purchase activity is up about 10% from a year ago. The purchase index has increased 10 of the last 12 weeks, and the 4-week average of the purchase index is at the highest level since 2010 (when the tax credit boosted application activity).

The 4-week average is up about 25% from the post-bubble low.

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