Both mortgage applications and interest rates were essentially directionless during the week ended May 13.  The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, was down 1.6 percent from the previous week on a seasonally unadjusted basis and down 2 percent unadjusted. 

The Refinance Index rose 1 percent from the week ended May 6 and the refinance share of mortgage applications increased from 52.8 percent to 54.7 percent.  Purchase applications, on the other hand, dropped 6 percent on both a seasonally adjusted and unadjusted basis from the previous week but remained 12 percent higher than during the same week in 2015.

Refi Index vs 30yr Fixed

Purchase Index vs 30yr Fixed

Applications for FHA-backed mortgages had a 12.6 percent share of application volume, down from 13 percent the previous week while the share of VA applications increased to 12.2 percent from 11.7 percent.  The USDA share was unchanged at 0.7 percent.

Mortgage rates were mixed but generally lower.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) with conforming loan balances under $417,000 was unchanged at 3.82 percent and 0.34 points.  The effective rate was also unchanged from the prior week.

The average contract interest rate for jumbo 30-year FRM (loan balances greater than $417,000) was also unchanged at 3.74 percent, but points eased to 0.29 from 0.31. The effective rate was lower than the previous week.

Thirty-year FRM backed by FHA had an average rate of 3.63 percent, down one basis point from the previous week.  Points increased to 0.28 from 0.25 but the effective rate declined.

The rate for 15-year FRM decreased to 3.02 percent from 3.06 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.33. The effective rate decreased from the previous week.

The market share of adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) decreased from 5.7 percent a week earlier to 5.5 percent.  The average rate for 5/1 ARMs went up 1 basis point and points increased from 0.22 to 0.30, driving the effective rate higher.

MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, which has been conducted since 1990, 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 rate information is based on mortgages with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio and points that include the origination fee.