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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase, But Still Low

by Calculated Risk on 8/03/2011 07:44:00 AM

The MBA reports: Mortgage Applications Increase, But Still Low in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

The Refinance Index increased 7.8 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 5.1 percent from one week earlier
"Mortgage rates fell, with the rate on 15-year mortgages reaching a new low in our survey. Refinance application volume increased, but even though 30-year mortgage rates are back below 4.5 percent, the refinance index is still almost 30 percent below last year's level. Factors such as negative equity and a weak job market continue to constrain borrowers. Purchase activity increased off of a low base, returning to levels of one month ago, but remains weak by historical standards." [said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics].
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.45 percent from 4.57 percent, with points decreasing to 0.78 from 1.14 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans.
The following graph shows the MBA Purchase Index and four week moving average since 1990.

MBA Purchase Index Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

The four week average of the purchase index is at best moving sideways at about 1997 levels. Of course this doesn't include the large number of cash buyers ... but this suggests purchase activity remains fairly weak.

Mortgage rates fell last week - and will be even lower this week.