U.S. mortgage applications rise for purchases, but decrease overall

March 07, 2012 08:30AM

Mortgage applications fell last week even as loans taken out for home purchases increased again, according to weekly data released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Total applications fell 1.2 percent for the week ending March 2, thanks to the 2 percent decrease in refinance applications. Mortgage applications for purchases increased 2.1 percent and now comprise 23 percent of all mortgage activity, compared to 22.1 percent from the previous week. However, applications for purchase loans still remain 7.8 percent below levels recorded during the same week a year ago.

According to the MBA, 6.1 percent of applications for mortgage purchases were submitted by investors, down from 6.4 percent in January.

Meanwhile, mortgage rates continue to fall. The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming balances decreased one-hundredth of a percentage point to 4.06 percent. The rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loans fell by the same amount to 4.33 percent. However, the rate for 30-year loans backed by the FHA increased to 3.87 percent from 3.86 percent and 15-year rates remained unchanged at 3.36 percent. — Adam Fusfeld