There was less activity on the mortgage application front for the week ending Jan. 17, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
The Market Composite Index was down by 1.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, while the unadjusted index inched up by 0.4 percent. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased two percent from one week earlier, but the unadjusted index was up by four percent and was also eight percent higher than the same week one year ago. The Refinance Index decreased two percent from the previous week, although it was also 116 percent higher than the same week one year ago, and the refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 61.6 percent of total applications from 62.9 percent the previous week.
Among the federal loan programs, the FHA share of total applications decreased to 11.3 percent from 12.7 percent the week prior while the VA share of total applications increased to 13.8 percent from 12.1 percent and the USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.5 percent.
“Mortgage applications dipped slightly last week after two weeks of healthy increases, but even with a slight decline, the total pace of applications remains at an elevated level,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “The purchase market has started 2020 on a strong note, running eight percent higher than the same week a year ago. Refinance applications remained near the highest level since October 2019, as the 30-year fixed rate was unchanged at 3.87 percent, while the 15-year fixed rate decreased to its lowest level since November 2016.”
Separately, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported home prices were up by 0.2 percent from October to November and up 4.9 percent from November 2018 to November 2019. The previously reported 0.2 percent increase for October 2019 was revised upward to 0.4 percent.
The FHFA added that seasonally adjusted monthly house price changes among the nine census divisions from October to November ranged from a 0.1 percent downturn in the Mountain division to an 0.8 percent increase in the East North Central division. The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from 3.8 percent in the New England and the West South Central divisions to 6.3 percent in the Mountain division.