Mortgage application volume was higher across the board during the week ended December 4 as activity rebounded from the essentially three-day work week that led up to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Results from that week were adjusted accordingly.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported an increase of 1.2 percent in its Market Composite Index, a measure of loan applications received, on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the week ended November 27.  The index surged by 43 percent on an unadjusted basis.    

The Refinance Index rose by 4 percent from the previous week and the share of all mortgage applications submitted for refinancing grew from 56.6 percent to 58.7 percent.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index eked out a 0.04 percent gain from the previous week while the unadjusted Purchase Index increased 36 percent and was 29 percent higher than the same week in 2014.

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Purchase Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Applications for FHA-backed mortgages accounted for 13.0 percent of all mortgage applications compared to 13.2 percent during the week ended November 27 while VA-backed mortgage applications dropped from an 11.3 percent share to 10.8 percent.  The USDA share of total applications appears to be permanently frozen at 0.7 percent.

The direction of changes in average contract interest rates and effective rates varied by loan product.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) with conforming loan balances of $417,000 or less increased to 4.14 percent from 4.12 percent.  Points decreased to 0.43 from 0.50 and the effective rate remained the same as the week before.  

The contract rate for 30-year jumbo FRM (balances higher than $417,000) increased by 3 basis points to 4.02 percent and points dropped to 0.40 from 0.33.  The effective rate increased.

FHA-backed 30-year FRM had a contract rate of 3.91 percent with 0.43 point compared to 3.89 percent with 0.49 point the prior week.  The effective rate was unchanged.

The rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.39 percent from 3.36 percent.  Points decreased to 0.39 from 0.44 and the effective rate increased.

Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) received 6.2 percent of mortgage applications during the week, up from 6.1 percent.  The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 2.98 percent from 3.11 percent and points decreased to 0.30 from 0.44. The effective rate decreased from the prior week.

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.  Interest rate data is based on mortgages with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio and points that include the origination fee.