Applications Up, Breaking Weeks-Long Downward Streak

Mortgage applications rose last week for the first time in five weeks.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey shows the adjusted Market Composite Index – a measure of mortgage loan application volume – increased by 2.3%, ticking up after the week prior’s 4.2% decline.

The average interest rate for 30-year fixed loans remained unchanged at 7.31%, breaking four straight weeks of increases. It is at the highest level since December 2000.

Adjusted purchase applications rose by 2%, while the unadjusted index dipped 0.3% from the week before and was 27% lower YOY.

“Treasury yields peaked early in the week and did move lower by the end, which may have spurred some activity,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist.

Mortgage rates follow treasury yields, which were pushed higher last week thanks to a strong jobs report that raised concerns over sticky inflation. But yields slipped Monday as investors focused on the possibility of more Fed rate hikes, which seem increasingly likely.

Kan noted that activity overall remains low despite the upticks, attributing the data to the high rate, low inventory environment.

Refinances were up by 3% but 28% lower than the same time last year.

Refinances currently make up 30.1% of total applications, gaining market share due to shrinking purchase demand but still subdued. In the past decade, refis averaged 58% of total activity.

“The refinance market continues to be slow despite last week’s gain, which was driven by a 7.9% spike in conventional refinances. Government refinance applications dropped more than 10% last week,” Kan added.

The FHA share of total applications fell to 13.2% from 14.3%. Government applications have seen a boost in four of the last five months as buyers seek out ways around the affordability crisis.

ARM applications fell to 7.5% of total applications after spiking the week prior.

The VA’s share remained unchanged at 11.6%, while the USDA’s share slipped to 0.4%.

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