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Mortgage Loan Rates Drop, Boosting Applications for New Loans

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning. It noted a week-over-week increase of 13.9% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending September 18, following a decrease of 7% for the week ending September 11. Mortgage loan rate changes remained unchanged or fell last week.

On an unadjusted basis, the composite index increased by 26% week over week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index rose by 9% compared with the week ended September 11. The unadjusted purchase index increased by 20% for the week and is now 27% higher year over year. The prior week’s results included an adjustment for the Labor Day holiday.

The MBA’s refinance index increased by 18% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose from 56.4% to 58.4%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 6.9% of all applications, up slightly from 6.8% in the prior week.

The MBA’s chief economist said:

We saw significant rate volatility last week surrounding the FOMC meeting, and rate declines toward the end of the week likely drove applications from both prospective home buyers and borrowers looking to refinance.

Mortgage News Daily reported on Tuesday that most mortgage lenders are now offering 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in a range of 3.875% to 4.00%, with some more aggressive lenders offering rates as low as 3.75%.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged last week at 4.09%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 4.04% to 3.99%, its lowest level since May. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 3.33% to 3.31%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan decreased from 3.04% to 2.95%, also the lowest rate since May. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan remained unchanged at 3.88%.

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By Paul Ausick