U.S. mortgage applications fall again despite looming rates increase

U.S. mortgage applications decreased 3.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis between Dec. 16 and Dec. 30, according to weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released today. Both refinances and purchases declined during the period, by 1.9 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively. Still, total mortgage loan application volume remained 39 percent higher in the final two weeks of 2011 than it did over the same period a year prior.

Refinancings accounted for 81.9 percent of all mortgage applications for the week ending Dec. 30, its highest share of applications in 2011.

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“As part of legislation to extend the payroll tax holiday, guarantee fees for loans purchased by the GSEs and mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans will eventually increase. Given the announced implementation of this change, we do not expect to see an impact on mortgage rates and application activity until at least February,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics.

For the week ending Dec. 30: the contract rate for 30-year fixed mortgage rates on conforming loans was 4.07 percent and on jumbo loans it was 4.41 percent; interest rate for 30-year loans backed by the FHA was 3.96 percent; and the 15-year fixed-rate mortgages had an average contract interest of 3.37 percent. – Adam Fusfeld