As the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) termed it the headline on its press release this morning: "Mortgage Application Activity and Rates [were] Nearly Flat in Latest MBA Weekly Survey."  MBA's Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, certainly didn't do any handstands or back-flips during the week ended July 20, and most rates stayed put. 

The Composite ticked down 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier and was unchanged on an unadjusted basis.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index lost 1 percent on both an adjusted and an unadjusted basis and the latter was 2 percent higher than during the same week in 2017.

Refinancing did rally a tiny bit for the second straight week. That index rose 1 percent compared to the week ended July 13 and the share of applications that were for refinancing moved from 36.5 percent to 36.8 percent.


Refi Index vs 30yr Fixed



Purchase Index vs 30yr Fixed



The distribution of loans across product types shifted slightly with the FHA share moving down to 9.9 percent from 10.6 percent and USDA loans gaining 0.1 percentage point to 0.8 percent.  The VA share of total applications was unchanged at 10.2 percent.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) with origination balances at or under the conforming limit of  $453,100 was unchanged at 4.77 percent. Points declined to 0.45 from 0.46 and the effective rate was also unchanged.   

Rates for jumbo FRM, loans with balances above the conforming rate, did move significantly during the week, increasing to 4.72 percent from 4.66 percent.  Points averaged 0.31compared to 0.30 the prior week, and the effective rate also rose.  

Thirty-year FRM backed by the FHA kept the same average rate, 4.78 percent, as the previous week but points increased to 0.73 from 0.69, pushing the effective rate higher.

There was  a single basis point increase in the average contract rate for 15-year FRM, to  4.23 percent.  Points averaged 0.44 compared to the previous 0.42 and the effective rate moved up.  

The 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage (ARMs) declined 3 basis point to 4.09 percent and points decreased to 0.29 from 0.39.  The effective rate also moved lower.  The ARM share of total applications increased from 6.1 to 6.3 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.