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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

MBA: Mortgage Purchase Activity increases, FHA applications increase sharply

by Calculated Risk on 10/06/2010 07:32:00 AM

The MBA reports: Sharp Jump in Purchase Activity Led by Applications for FHA Loans in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

The Refinance Index decreased 2.5 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 9.3 percent from one week earlier and is the highest Purchase Index observed in the survey since the week ending May 7, 2010.
“The increase in purchase activity was led by a 17.2 percent increase in FHA applications, while conventional purchase applications also increased by 3.6 percent,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s Chief Economist. “This is the second straight weekly increase in purchase applications and the highest Purchase Index level since the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit program. One possible driver of last week’s big increase in FHA applications was a desire by borrowers to get applications in before new FHA requirements took effect October 4th, which included somewhat higher credit score and down payment requirements.”
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.25 percent from 4.38 percent, with points decreasing to 1.00 from 1.01 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans. The 30-year contract rate is the lowest recorded in the survey, with the previous low being the rate observed last week.
MBA Purchase Index Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the MBA Purchase Index and four week moving average since 1990.

This is the highest level of purchase activity since the end of the homebuyer tax credit, however the level is still very low - and much of the increase was driven by FHA applications that may decline next week (because of slightly tighter lending requirements).

Note that the 30 year contract rate is at another record low of 4.25%.