Mortgage and refinance applications show double-digit gains as rates drop

November 09, 2011 08:40AM

U.S. mortgage applications jumped 10.3 percent for the week ending Nov. 4, according to weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released today, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Unadjusted, mortgage applications rose 9.9 percent from the previous week. The four week moving average for mortgage applications is down 0.4 percent.

Refinancings, which are not seasonally adjusted, increased by 12.1 percent, after last week’s slight decrease.

The refinance share of mortgage increased to 78.6 percent of total applications from 77.1 percent the prior week, marking the first increase in a month. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity remained unchanged at 5.8 percent.

Mortgage rates decreased significantly from after several weeks of relative stability. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances (less than $417,500 under a new law) decreased to 4.22 percent from 4.31 percent, while jumbo loans increased to 4.57 percent from 4.69 percent. For FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages the average rate fell by seven basis points to 4.02 percent. Meanwhile, the average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 3.54 percent from 3.63 percent.

“Treasury rates dropped last week, as renewed turmoil in Europe once again led to a flight to quality, and 30-year mortgage rates dropped to their second lowest level of the year,” said Mike Fratantoni, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s vice president of research and economics. — Adam Fusfeld