U.S. mortgage applications rise, rates drop

February 08, 2012 09:00AM

U.S. mortgage applications rose 7.5 percent for the week ending Feb. 3, according to weekly data released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The rise followed two weeks where application numbers fell.

Refinances increased 9.4 percent week-over-week, while mortgage applications for purchases increased only 0.1 percent. Refinances comprised exactly four-fifths of all applications, down from 81.3 percent the previous week.

In January, the share of applications for home purchase by investors was 6.4 percent, down from 6.9 percent in December. The adjustable-rate share of mortgage activity increased to 6.0 percent from 5.6 percent of total applications the previous week.

Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with both conforming loan balances and jumbo loan balances decreased to the lowest rate in the history of the survey, the numbers show. For conforming loan balances average rates dropped to 4.05 percent, from 4.09 percent, and for jumbo loan balances to 4.29 percent, from 4.33 percent

FHA-backed 30-year loan rates fell to 3.89, from 3.96 the previous week, also the lowest rate in the history of the survey, while 15-year mortgage rates decreased to 3.33 percent from 3.36 percent — also the lowest rate on the survey’s record. –- Guelda Voien