Better than expected jobs numbers send interest rates climbing, applications fall

March 13, 2013 11:00AM

The number of mortgage applications for the week ending March 13, 2013  decreased 4.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association announced today. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 4 percent compared with the previous week.

The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier.  Unadjusted, the Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 9 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“The announcement of stronger than anticipated job growth last week led to an increase in interest rates, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate in our survey reaching the highest level in more than six months,” Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement.  “Refinance applications declined as a result, but remain high given the steady flow of HARP applications.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 76 percent of total applications, the lowest level since May 2012. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity also increased to 5 percent of total applications.

Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans with conforming balances increased to 3.81 percent, the highest rate since August 2012, from 3.70 percent. Interest rates for jumbo loans also increased to 3.9 percent from 3.8 percent. Rates for Federal Housing Administration-backed 30-year fixed-rate loans increased to 3.53 percent from 3.47 percent and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages  increased to 3.01 percent from 2.96 percent. —Christopher Cameron