The Real Deal New York

Mortgage applications skyrocket to highest level in three years

June 13, 2012 08:30AM

Applications for mortgages in the U.S. jumped 18 percent last week, according to weekly survey data released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association, and reached their highest level since May 2009. Purchase applications increased 13 percent from the previous week, while refinances, which now comprise 79 percent of the mortgage market, rose 19 percent.

“Mortgage application volume increased sharply last week. The increase was accentuated due to the comparison to the week including Memorial Day, but the level of refinance and total market activity is the highest since the spring of 2009,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics.  “Refinance volume increased as borrowers were able to lock in at mortgage rates below 4 percent, and purchase application volume was its highest level in over six months.”

The average size of new loans for home purchases in the U.S. was $243,733 in May, up $238,135 from the previous month. Average refinance loan size also increased, by nearly $7,000 to $226,576.

Interest rates for mortgages rose ever so slightly last week. The rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ticked up a single basis point to 3.88 percent, though interest rates for similar mortgages with jumbo balances fell by the same amount to 4.12 percent. FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate loans saw their interest rates rise to 3.71 percent from 3.70 percent and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.23 percent from 3.20 percent. — Adam Fusfeld