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Mortgage Apps: Another Modest Rebound Despite Higher Rates

March 15, 2017
Bottom Line: Mortgage applications rebounded for a third week, despite the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hitting 4.46%, 1bp above the December highs. Purchase applications remain resilient, still in an uptrend, if at a slower pace. The percentage of adjustable-rate mortgages reported continues to rise -- and with 5/1 rates still at 3.45%, ARMs are likely driving the modest uptick in refinancing seen over the last three weeks.

The MBA Mortgage Applications Index ROSE by 3.1% during the week ended March 10 to 418.1, moderately above its 13 week average of 386.8 but 13.1% BELOW its year ago level.

The Purchase Index ROSE by 2.3% to 240.3, modestly above its 13 week average of 232.0 and 6.2% ABOVE its year ago level. The level of purchase activity had stayed quite low after the crisis until 2015 when it started to rise. But that trend has lost momentum since mid-2016.

The Refinance Index ROSE by 4.1% to 1,413. Despite this increase, refinancing activity is sharply above its 13 week average of 1,266 but 27.2% BELOW its year ago level.

Contract Mortgage Rates ROSE with the 30-year fixed rate increasing by 10 bps to 4.46% and with the 15-year fixed rate increasing by 9 bps to 3.66%.