The Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey showed a slight increase in applications for home purchases during the week ended October 12, but applications overall declined.  MBA's Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, decreased 4.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and with an adjustment for the Columbus Day holiday.  On an unadjusted basis the index was down 14 points from the week ended October 5.

The Refinance Index was down 5 percent from the previous week while the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent from the previous week to the highest level since June.  Applications for refinancing constituted 82 percent of total applications for the week, down from an 83 percent share a week earlier.  On an unadjusted basis the Purchase Index was down 9 percent week-over-week but was 12 percent higher than during the same week in 2011.

Purchase Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Mortgage interest rates were mixed.  The average contract interest rate and effective rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of $417,500 both increased.  The contract rate was 3.57 percent with 0.44 point compared to 3.56 percent with 0.39 point.  Both rates also increased for the jumbo version of the 30-year FRM (loans with balances of $417,500); the contract rate increased to 3.81 percent with 0.42 point from 3.74 percent with 0.40 point.

Rates for FHA-backed 30-year FRM were unchanged at 3.34 percent although points increased from 0.71 to 0.82 and the effective rate went up. 

The contract rate for 15-year FRM set another new survey low, declining one basis point to 2.87 percent with points decreasing to 0.39 from 0.40.  This is the eighth consecutive week the 15 year has decreased.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 2.59 percent from 2.60 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 from 0.36 matching the lowest rate in the survey's history.  The effective rate also decreased from the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained constant at 4 percent of total applications and the HARP share of refinance applications increased to 22 percent from 18 percent the prior week.

Interest rates quoted are for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of 80 percent and points include the application fee.

MBA's Weekly Survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990.  Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.  Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.