The volume of mortgage applications remained largely unchanged during the week ended January 31.  The Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Market Composite Index, a measure of the mortgage application activity, ticked up 0.4 percent from the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis and rose 14 percent on an unadjusted basis from the week ended January 24.

Refinancing remained at 62 percent of total applications while the Refinancing Index increased 3 percent. 

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was down 4.0 percent from the previous week while the unadjusted index increased 14 percent week-over-week and was 17 percent below the level during the same week in 2013.   

Purchase Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Rates dropped across the board again, most products and now back to November 2013 levels.  The average contract interest rate for conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgages (FRM) with balances of $417,000 or less was 4.47 percent with 0.25 point compared to rates the previous week which averaged 4.52 percent with 0.40 point.  The effective rate for this and all other products tracked also retreated from a week earlier. 

The jumbo 30-year FRM (balances above $417,000) had an average rate of 4.42 percent, down from 4.47 percent, with points decreasing to 0.11 from 0.27.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 4.12 percent from 4.18 percent, with points decreasing to 0.15 from 0.33.

Rates fell an average of 6 basis points to 3.53 percent for 15-year FRMs.  Points increased to 0.28 from 0.26.

The share of applications filed for adjustable rate mortgage products (ARMs) rose from 7 percent the previous week to 8 percent.  The average contract rate for the 5/1 ARM, the most popular of the adjustable rate mortgages, declined to 3.15 percent from 3.25 percent, with points increasing to 0.41 from 0.33.   This decrease took the 5/1 hybrid back to December 2013 levels.

MBA's data is gathered from its Weekly Mortgage Application Survey conducted among mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts and covering 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.  The survey has been conducted since 1990 and the base period and value for its indexes is March 16, 1990=100.  Interest rates are quoted for loans with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio and points include the origination fee.