Mortgage applications for both purchasing a home and refinancing one increased during the week ended April 12.  The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its Market Composite Index, a measure of total application volume, increased 4.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the week ended April 5 and 5 percent on an unadjusted basis.

The Refinance Index increased 5 percent from the previous week and is at its highest level since mid-January.  Refinancing held on to a 75 percent share of refinancing activity, the same as the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was up 4 percent from the previous week and the unadjusted level increased 3 percent.  The adjusted index is at its highest level since May 2010 and the unadjusted level is 20 percent higher than it was one year ago.  Applications for conventional purchase mortgages were the highest than at any time since October 2009.

Purchase Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Average contract interest rates decreased for all mortgage products and effective rates declined for all but the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) with conforming balances under $417,500.  The contract rate for those loans averaged 3.67 percent with 0.50 point compared to 3.68 percent with 0.43 point the previous week.

The contract rate for 30-year FRM with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) decreased to 3.77 percent from 3.79 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.36.  FHA-backed 30-year FRM had an average rate of 3.37 percent, down 6 basis points from the previous week; points increased to 0.55 from 0.52. Fifteen-year FRM rates averaged 2.91 percent compared to 2.92 percent and points were unchanged at 0.34.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) decreased to 2.57 percent from 2.58 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.37.  Applications for all ARMs held steady at a 5 percent share.

The MBA derives its application volume and interest rate data from a weekly survey of mortgage bankers, commercial banks, and thrifts that it has conducted since 1990 and that covers 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.  Indices are based on applications volume on March 16 1990 and interest rates on loans with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio.  Points include the application fee.