Mortgage applications were down sharply during the week ended November 24, a week that was shortened by the Thanksgiving Day holiday.  The Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey found that the volume of loan applications as measured by its Market Composite Index was down 11.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and 39.0 percent on an unadjusted basis from the previous week.

The Refinance Index decreased 15.3 percent from the week ended November 18 and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was down 33.7 percent.  The Purchase Index was 18.2 percent lower than during the same week in 2010.

The four-week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index was down 3.29 percent and the moving average for the Refinance Index decreased 4.92 percent.  The moving average for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was up 2.37 percent.

The refinancing portion of overall mortgage applications continued to drop from the year's high of 79.7 percent in September.  During the current period refinancing applications represented 73.9 percent of the total compared to 75.9 percent the previous week. This is the lowest share for refinancing since July.  Applications for adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) increased to 5.8 percent from 5.7 percent of total applications.

Figures for the month of October indicate that 6.1 percent of mortgage applications for home purchases were filed by investors, up one basis point from September.  Much of this increase occurred in the New England region.  Applications to purchase second homes decreased from 5.8 percent in September to 5.6 percent in October.

Purchase Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Interest rates for most mortgage products decreased during the week as did all effective rates.  The average contract rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) decreased from 4.23 percent with 0.46 point to 4.21 percent with 0.49 point.  Jumbo 30-year FRM (with loan balances greater than $417,500) decreased four basis points to 4.55 percent with points increasing from 0.40 to 0.45.  

FHA-backed mortgages (30-year FRM) decreased to 4.00 percent from 4.05 percent, the lowest rate since January while points increased to 0.62 from 0.55.

The rate for 15-year FRM was unchanged at 3.58 percent with points decreasing to 0.45 from 0.53.  The rate for 5/1 ARMS was 2.98 percent with 0.47 point compared to 3.00 percent with 0.49 point one week earlier.  All rates are for 80 percent loan-to-value loans and all points include the origination fee.

The MBA 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.