U.S. mortgage applications fall for third straight week

November 30, 2011 08:39AM

U.S. mortgage applications fell for the third consecutive week, free-falling 11.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending Nov. 25, according to weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released today. Unadjusted, the index fell 39 percent compared to last week, largely because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Mortgage applications for purchases fell 0.8 percent, on a seasonally adjusted basis, after reaching a seven-month peak last week at 8.6 percent — their highest levels in seven months — while refinancing applications decreased another 15.3 percent from the prior week’s four-month low.

The refinance share of mortgage activity continues to fall, decreasing to 73.9 percent of total applications from 75.9 percent the prior week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity rose to 5.8 percent from 5.7 percent.

The investor share of mortgage applications rose one-hundredth of a percentage point in October from the previous month to 6.1 percent.

Mortgage rates declined slightly from the previous week for the week ending Nov. 25. 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 4.21 percent from 4.23 percent, while jumbo loan rates fell to 4.55 percent from 4.59 percent. For FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, the average rate declined to 4 percent from 4.05 percent. The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages held firm at 3.58 percent. — Adam Fusfeld