Mortgage application volume rose during the week ended April 21, solely from a significant increase in refinancing.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, was up 2.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week ended April 14, and rose 3.0 percent on an unadjusted basis.

The Refinance Index increased 7 percent from a week earlier while the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index fell by 1 percent. The unadjusted Purchase Index ticked up 0.1 percent compared with the previous week and was 0.4 percent higher than the same week in 2016.

Refi Index vs 30yr Fixed

Purchase Index vs 30yr Fixed

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 44.0 percent of total applications from 42.4 percent the previous week. The average loan size for refinance applications increased to $266,900, the highest since last September.

The FHA share of total applications dropped a percentage point to 10.0 percent and the VA share decreased to 10.9 percent from 11.1 percent. USDA loans received an 0.8 percent share, down from 1.0 percent the week before.

Mortgage interest rates were lower on both a contract and an effective basis except for the jumbo 30 year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM).  The average rate for these loans, with balances in excess of $424,100, were unchanged from the previous week at 4.15 percent.  Points increased to 0.27 from 0.23 and the effective rate increased.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year (FRM) with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) decreased to its lowest level since November 2016, 4.20 percent, from 4.22 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.35  

FHA-backed 30-year FRM had an average rate of 4.03 percent with 0.34 points.  The previous week the rate was 4.09 percent with 0.36 point.

Fifteen-year FRM had their lowest rates since last November at 3.46 percent with 0.50 point.  A week earlier the contract rate was 3.50 percent with 0.41 point.

Adjustable rate mortgages had an 8.7 percent share of mortgage applications during the week, up from 8.4 percent the week before.  The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to its lowest level since November 2016, 3.22 percent, from 3.27 percent, with points decreasing to 0.18 from 0.26.

MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.  Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.  Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100 and interest rate information is based on loans with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio and points that include the origination fee.