Mortgage applications up nationwide

Mortgage applications increased 7.1 percent nationwide for the week ending July 29, according to weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released today. Refinancings also increased 7.8 percent from the previous week.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 70.1 percent of total applications from 69.6 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased week-over-week to 6.6 percent from 6.1 percent of total applications.

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The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.45 percent from 4.57 percent, while the average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.52 percent from 3.67 percent.

“Treasury rates plummeted more than 20 basis points last week as all eyes were focused on the debt ceiling negotiations in Washington, and economic data depicted much slower than anticipated economic growth,” Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement. “Mortgage rates fell, with the rate on 15-year mortgages reaching a new low in our survey. Refinance application volume increased, but even though 30-year mortgage rates are back below 4.5 percent, the refinance index is still almost 30 percent below last year’s level. Factors such as negative equity and a weak job market continue to constrain borrowers.” — Miranda Neubauer