Mortgage applications for new purchases rise to highest level since April

November 23, 2011 08:30AM

Following a big decline the prior week, U.S. mortgage applications fell another 1.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending Nov. 18, according to weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released today. Unadjusted, mortgage applications rose 8.6 percent, in part because of the affect of the Veterans Day holiday the prior week.

Mortgage applications for purchases gained 8.6 percent to their highest levels in seven months, while refinancing applications decreased 4 percent from the prior week to their lowest levels in almost four months.

The refinance share of mortgage activity continues to fall, decreasing to 75.9 percent of total applications from 77.3 percent the prior week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity fell to 5.7 percent from 6.1 percent.

Mortgage rates were relatively stable compared to last week. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances (less than $417,500 under a new law) held firm at 4.23 percent, while jumbo loan rates increased to 4.59 percent from 4.56 percent. For FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, the average rate rose two-hundredths of a percentage point to 4.05 percent. The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.58 percent from 3.54 percent. — Adam Fusfeld