As mortgage interest rates moved higher during the week ended September 28, with small increases carrying most to new seven year highs, application activity almost froze in place.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, was unchanged from the prior week on a seasonally adjusted basis and lost 0.2 percent on an unadjusted basis.

The Refinancing Index decreased 0.1 percent from the previous week.  The share of applications that were for refinancing was unchanged from the week ended September 21 at 39.4 percent.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index eked out a 0.1 percent increase, extending to five weeks its streak of mainly tiny gains. On an unadjusted basis the measure declined 0.2 percent from the previous week's level and was 3 percent higher than during the same week in 2017.


Refi Index vs 30yr Fixed



Purchase Index vs 30yr Fixed



Ten percent of total applications were for VA loans, down from 10.1 percent the previous week, and the FHA share declined to 10.2 percent from 10.4 percent.  The USDA share was unchanged at 0.7 percent.  

The only loan type that did not post an increased interest rate during the week was the conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM), loans with origination balances at or below the current limit of $453,100.  That rate ticked down to 4.96 percent with 0.49 point from 4.97 percent with 0.47 point. The effective rate was unchanged.

The jumbo 30-year FRM, loans with balances higher than the conforming limit, had an average rate that was the highest since July 2011, 4.93 percent, up from 4.92 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.30. The effective rate also increased.

FHA-backed 30-year FRM had an average rate of 4.95 percent with 0.80 point.  The prior week the rate was 4.94 percent with 0.83 point. The effective rate was unchanged from the previous week. The new rate was the highest since May 2011.

The rate for 15-year FRM was the highest since April 2010, 4.39 percent, 1 basis point higher than a week earlier.  Points decreased to 0.50 from 0.52  and the effective rate increased.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) was the highest since MBA began tracking the product, 4.24 percent compared to 4.22 percent the prior week.  Points however dropped to 0.48 from 0.60, pulling the effective rate lower.  The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.1 percent of total applications from 6.5 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.