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Mortgage Applications Up Slightly

Phil Hall
Jan 18, 2017

Home loan applications were up for a second consecutive week, according to the latest Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

The Market Composite Index increased by 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, while on an unadjusted basis the index increased by 29 percent compared to the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased by five percent from one week earlier, but the unadjusted index soared by 25 percent compared to the previous week and was only one percent lower than the same week one year ago. The Refinance Index increased by seven percent from the previous week while the refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 53.0 percent of total applications from 51.2 percent the previous week.

Despite the mostly positive data, MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni was unhappy with the latest numbers.

"Mortgage activity was lackluster last week," Fratantoni said. "Total refinance volume was up seven percent for the week, led by a jump in FHA refinance activity, likely spurred by the announcement of a drop in the FHA mortgage insurance premiums. Refi volume is still down sharply from the end of last year, remaining 13 percent below the level from four weeks ago. Purchase activity fell below last year's level by 1 percent, despite mortgage rates hitting their lowest point in a month."

Among the federal home loan programs, the FHA share of total applications increased to 13.1 percent from 11.7 percent the week prior while the VA share of total applications decreased to 12.1 percent from 12.8 percent and the USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.9 percent.

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