Mortgage rates pulled back slightly during the week ended November 16, but that did little to move mortgage applications higher.  The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of overall application volume, continued to trend down, dipping 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the week ended November 9.  The weeks results do not include an adjustment to account for the Veterans' Day holiday. On an unadjusted basis, the Index was down 3.0 percent.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index shored up the overall index, rising 3.0 percent from the previous week, the first increase in that index in a month.  The unadjusted index lagged 1 percent from the previous week and is down 5 percent from the same week in 2017.

The Refinance Index continues to decline; its 5 percent decrease took it to its lowest level since December 2000.  The share of all applications intended for refinancing fell to 38.5 percent of total applications from 39.4 percent a week earlier.


Refi Index vs 30yr Fixed



Purchase Index vs 30yr Fixed



Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting said, "Treasury rates declined last week, as equity markets continued to see large swings amidst investor concerns over global economic growth. As a result, mortgage rates inched back across most loan types, including the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, 5/1 ARM, and 30-year jumbo mortgage rate.

"The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage also declined, stopping a run of six straight weekly increases.  Mortgage applications saw mixed results last week. Purchase applications increased to their highest level in five weeks, but despite the pause in rates, refinance activity dropped again and remained at its lowest level since 2000."

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.7 percent from 10.6 percent the prior week. The VA portion increased to 10.6 percent from 10.1 percent and applications for USDA financing accounted for the same 0.7 percent share as in previous weeks.  The average loan sought by all applications during the week was $289,500, $307,700 for purchase mortgages. 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) with origination balances at or below the conforming limit of $453,100 decreased to 5.16 percent from 5.17 percent.   Points dipped to 0.48 from 0.55 and the effective rate was down.

The jumbo 30-year FRM, loans with balances greater than $453,100, dropped by 10 basis points to 4.88 percent.  Points increased to 0.29 from 0.28 and the effective rate moved lower.

The rate for 30-year FRM backed by the FHA averaged 5.08 percent, unchanged from the prior week.  Points rose to 0.63 from 0.55 and the effective rate increased.

Fifteen-year FRM had an average rate of 4.53 percent with 0.51 point.  The previous week the rate was 4.57 percent with 0.56 point.  The effective rate also declined.

The share of applications for adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) declined to 7.3 percent from 7.7 percent the previous week even though both contract and effective rates improved.  The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs was 4.24 percent, a 21-basis point improvement, while points increased to 0.51 from 0.31.

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.