Whether it was the weather, the Martin Luther King Holiday which shortened the business week, or consumers practicing patience as mortgage rates drift lower, there wasn't much happening in the way of mortgage application activity last week.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said today that applications for both purchase mortgages and refinancing were essentially flat during the week ended January 24.  

MBA's Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, was down 0.2 percent from the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis and with an additional adjustment to account for the holiday.  On an unadjusted basis the index decreased 9 percent from the week ended January 17.

The Refinance Index dipped by 2 percent from the week before and the refinance portion of applications fell to 62 percent from 64 percent.  This was the lowest share for refinancing since September. 

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 12 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was down 4 percent from the previous week.  The unadjusted index was up 2 percent week-over-week but was 15 percent lower than the same week in 2012.

Purchase Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Contract and effective rates for all fixed-rate mortgage products (FRM) slipped during the week, with contract rates at their lowest levels since the week ended November 29.  Rates for adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) rose slightly.  The contract rate for 30-year FRM with conforming balances of $417,000 or less decreased from 4.57 percent with 0.36 point to 4.52 percent with 0.40 point.  The rate for the jumbo 30-year FRM (balances above $417,000) decreased to 4.47 percent with 0.27 point from 4.57 percent and 0.18 point. 

The contract interest rate for 30-year FRM backed by the FHA decreased to 4.18 percent with 0.33 point.  The prior week the contract rate was 4.24 percent with 0.23 point.

Contract rates for the 15-year FRM decreased 9 basis points to an average of 3.59 percent.  Points decreased to 0.26 from 0.29.   

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.25 percent from 3.23 percent, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.37 and the effective rate decreased.  ARM's held on to a 7 percent share of mortgage applications, the same as the previous week

MBA's data comes from the Weekly Mortgage Application Survey it has conducted since 1990.  The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications and respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.  Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.  Rates are surveyed for loans with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio and points include the origination fee.