U.S. mortgage applications plummet

November 16, 2011 08:47AM

Following a 10.3 percent jump, U.S. mortgage applications fell 10 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending Nov. 11, according to weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released today. Unadjusted, mortgage applications plummeted 19.6 percent from the previous week, in part because of the Veterans Day holiday. The four-week moving average for mortgage applications was up 1.2 percent.

Mortgage applications for purchases fell 2.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, while refinancings, which are not seasonally adjusted, decreased 12.2 percent, after last week’s double-digit increase.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 77.3 percent of total applications from 78.6 percent the prior week, rendering the previous increase a blip, as the share has largely fallen in the last six weeks. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity rose to 6.1 percent from 5.8 percent.

After the previous week’s big decrease, mortgage rates stabilized. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances (less than $417,500 under a new law) gained one-hundredth of a percentage point to reach 4.23 percent, while jumbo loans decreased by that same amount to 4.56 percent. For FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages the average rate rose to 4.03 percent from 4.02 percent. Meanwhile, the average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages stayed at 3.54 percent. — Adam Fusfeld