There was the usual post-holiday resurgence in the volume of mortgage applications last week, following a subdued level of activity the previous week which was shortened by the Thanksgiving Day observance. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, which measures applications for both refinancing and purchase mortgages, was higher on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended December 1, and made one of its outsized swings to recoup losses on an unadjusted basis.

The overall composite increased 4.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and was up 47 percent on an unadjusted basis. Compared to the week ended November 24. The prior week's results included an adjustment to account for the holiday.

The Refinance Index increased 9 percent from a week before, and once again more than half of all applications were for refinancing.  The 51.6 percent share, up from 48.7 percent the prior week, was the highest since September. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index gained 2 percent.  The unadjusted Purchase Index rose 38 percent, and was 8 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

Refi Index vs 30yr Fixed

Purchase Index vs 30yr Fixed

Applications for FHA mortgages had an 11.1 percent share of all filed, up from 10.8 percent.  VA applications fell back to a 10.7 percent share from 11.0 percent and the USDA portion was unchanged at 0.8 percent.

With a single exception, both contract and effective mortgage rates moved higher during the week. The outlier was a 1 basis point decline in the contract rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) with conforming loan balances of$424,100 or less.  That average rate was 4.19 percent.  Points increased to 0.40 from 0.34. 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year FRM with jumbo balances above the conforming limit increased to 4.16 percent from 4.14 percent.  Points averaged 0.28 rather than 0.27.

The rage for mortgage loans backed by the FHA was 4.11 percent with 0.40 point.  The previous week FRM rates averaged 4.07 percent with 0.47 point.

The average rate for 15-year FRM increased to 3.59 percent from 3.57 percent.  Points rose to 0.48 from 0.40.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) increased to 3.48 percent from 3.42 percent, while points declined to 0.46 from 0.58. The ARM share of total applications fell by half a percent, to the lowest level since, January, 5.7 percent.

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.