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Mortgage Applications Down as Rates Stagnate

Phil Hall
Aug 03, 2016
In this morning’s housing data news, mortgage applications are on the decline again, yet the historically low mortgage rates are remaining relatively steady

In this morning’s housing data news, mortgage applications are on the decline again, yet the historically low mortgage rates are remaining relatively steady.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 29 found the Market Composite Index dropped 3.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and four percent on an unadjusted basis from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased two percent from one week earlier to the lowest level since February 2016; the unadjusted Purchase Index also decreased by two percent compared with the previous week, but it was six percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Government Purchase Index fell to its lowest level since November 2015.

The Refinance Index dipped four percent from the previous week while the refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 60.7 percent of total applications from 61.1 percent the previous week. Among the government loan programs, the FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.4 percent from 10.1 percent the week prior while the VA share of total applications increased to 12.1 percent from 11.9 percent and the USDA share of total applications increased to 0.7 percent from 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, a new analysis of mortgage rates by Foster City, Calif.-based HSH.com found the average rate for conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by two basis points—or 0.02 percent—to 3.52 percent over the past week. Despite a less-than-stellar U.S. economy and global jitters created by the Brexit vote, mortgage rates are neither plummeting nor soaring.

"Mortgage rates have barely wobbled about over the last five weeks," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com. "Increases and decreases have been measured in moves of just two to four basis points, little more than statistical noise. Truth be told, it will take a lot of positive economic data from both the U.S. and abroad to move them materially, and so far that hasn't materialized. Most likely, more aimless drifting will be seen in the days ahead, but Friday's employment report for July may kick rates a little higher or lower, depending upon how strong it is."

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