The strong uptick in mortgage applications during the week ended February 28 faded quickly and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said today that application volume has resumed the downward trajectory that has prevailed since late last fall. According to MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey the Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage volume decreased 2.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before and down 1 percent on an unadjusted basis.

The Refinance Index fell 3 percent week-over-week and refinancing garnered a 57 percent share of mortgage activity, down from 57.7 the previous week.  The refinancing share is off 6 percentage points from the level at the beginning of the year and is at the lowest point since April 2011.

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was 1.0 percent lower and the unadjusted Purchase Index was 1.0 percent higher than in the week ended February 28.  The unadjusted index was 17 percent below that of the same week in 2013. 

Purchase Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Both contract and effective interest rates rose for all mortgage products during the week.  The average contract rate for conventional (loan balances under $417,000) 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) was 4.52 percent with 0.29 point.  The previous week the rate was 4.47 percent with 0.28 point. 

 The average rate for the jumbo version of the 30-year FRM (balances in excess of $417,000) was 4.41 percent, an increase of 4 basis points from the week before.  Points were unchanged at 0.20.

FHA backed 30-year FRM had an average rate of 4.18 percent with 0.21 point.  This was an increase from the prior level of 4.13 percent with 0.13 point.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.53 percent from 3.52 percent.  Points increased to 0.28 from 0.18.  

Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) had an 8 percent share of mortgage applications which has been essentially unchanged for the last eight weeks.  The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.18 percent from 3.09 percent, with points decreasing to 0.36 from 0.38.  

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