Mortgage application activity was down during the Thanksgiving holiday shortened week ended November 23.  The Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA's) Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, declined 0.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and 24 percent on an unadjusted basis compared to the previous week.  The seasonally adjusted number includes an additional adjustment to account for the holiday.

Refinancing represented 81 percent of applications, the same as the previous week.  The Refinance Index was down 2 percent from the previous week while the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent.  The unadjusted Purchase Index was down 24 percent from the previous week and was 8 percent higher than during the same period in 2011.

Purchase Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Contract interest rates were unchanged or declined slightly during the week.  The average contract rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) with conforming balances of $417,500 or less decreased 1 basis point to 3.53 percent with points unchanged at 0.40.  Rates for the jumbo version of the 30-year FRM also declined by 1 basis point to 3.75 percent while points decreased from 0.40 to 0.31.  The effective rate of both the conforming and jumbo loans decreased from the previous week.   The contract rate for 15-year FRM was unchanged at 2.89 percent with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.25 and the effective rate rose correspondingly. 

Thirty-year FRM backed by FHA carried an average contract interest rate unchanged from the previous week at 3.36 percent.  Points increased to 0.65 from 0.63 and the effective rate increased.  The government share of purchase applications decreased to 33 percent, the lowest share since early 2009.

The rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) decreased to 2.60 percent from 2.62 percent with points remaining at 0.37 and the effective rate decreased.  ARMs once again accounted for 4 percent of mortgage applications.

Interest rate statistics are based on mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of 80 percent and points include the origination fee.

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