Mortgage activity was little changed during the week ended November 1 as interest rates continued to bounce around.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier and was down 1.0 percent on an unadjusted basis. 

Refinancing provided the only strength, rebounding after two weeks of declines.  The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week and was 144 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 59.5 percent of total applications from 58.0 percent the previous week.

Applications for purchase mortgages which had increased slightly during the week ended October 25, its first gain in four weeks, lost ground again. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index fell by 3 percent and was down 4 percent on an unadjusted basis.  It did hold on to a 7 percent improvement year-over-year.


Refi Index vs 30yr Fixed

Purchase Index vs 30yr Fixed


"U.S. Treasury yields once again exhibited some intraweek volatility before declining sharply toward the end of the week. As a result, mortgage rates decreased, with the 30-year fixed rate falling below 4 percent again," said Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "In response to the lower rates, refinance applications climbed 2 percent, as homeowners with larger loan balances helped to keep the average refinance loan size elevated. Purchase applications fell slightly last week but remained almost 7 percent higher than a year ago."

Added Kan, "Amidst persistent supply constraints in the entry-level price range, there's evidence that high-end homebuyers are more active this fall. The average loan size for purchase applications increased to its highest level since May."  

Purchase loans had an average origination balance of $332,800. The average loan size overall was $317,000.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 11.8 percent from 12.0 percent and the VA share bumped up to 12.0 percent from 11.8 percent one week earlier. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.6 percent.

Both contract and effective rates declined from the previous week. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) with conforming loan balances at or below the conforming limit of  $484,350 decreased to 3.98 percent from 4.05 percent, with points remaining unchanged at  0.37.

The average contract interest rate for jumbo 30-year FRM, loans with balances exceeding the conforming limit, decreased to 3.97 percent from 4.01 percent. Points dropped to 0.24 from 0.30.

FHA backed 30-year FRM had an average interest rate of 3.79 percent with 0.21 point. The previous week the rate was 3.83 percent with 0.28 point.  

Fifteen-year FRM had a rate of 3.38 percent, down 2 basis points from a week earlier. Points fell to 0.31 from 0.36.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) was unchanged at 3.43 percent, with points decreasing to 0.21 from 0.23. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity was 5.2 percent of total applications, the same as the previous week.

MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey been conducted since 1990 and covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential 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.