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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MBA: Mortgage Refinance Applications increase sharply

by Calculated Risk on 1/18/2012 08:33:00 AM

From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

The Refinance Index increased 26.4 percent from the previous week to its highest level since August 8, 2011. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 10.3 percent from one week earlier to its highest level since December 12, 2011.

"Interest rates dropped last week due to continuing anxieties regarding the fragile economic situation in Europe," said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics. Fratantoni continued, "With mortgage rates reaching new lows, refinance volume jumped and MBA's refinance index reached its highest level in the last six months. Purchase activity also increased as buyers returned to the market after the holiday season."

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) decreased to 4.06 percent from 4.11 percent ...

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) increased to 4.40 percent from 4.34 percent
The following graph shows the MBA Purchase Index and four week moving average since 1990.

MBA Purchase Index Click on graph for larger image.

The purchase index increased last week, and the 4-week average also increased. This index has mostly been sideways for the last 2 years - and even with the recent increase, this is at about the same level as in 1997.