Application Volume Rises as Rates Rise

Mortgage application volume rose for the fourth time in the last five weeks, even as rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased for the seventh time in the past eight weeks. For the week ended Feb. 1, total application volume was up 3.4%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The prior week was adjusted for Martin Luther King Day.

The reason for the uptick is a strong purchase market. MBA said its purchase index is at its highest point since May 7, 2010.

The Refinance Index was up 4% over the previous week, while the seasonally adjusted purchase index was up 2%. On an unadjusted basis, the purchase index is up 16% over the same week last year.

The market share of refi apps fell to 78%, their lowest percentage since early July.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) was up six basis points to 3.73%. The average contract interest rate for 30-year FHA-insured loans increased five basis points to 3.53%.

MBA data showed the average contract rate for jumbo 30-year FRMs increasing one basis point to 3.96%, while the rate for 15-year FRMs also increased, by five basis points to 3%. The rate for the 5/1 ARM had the biggest increase, moving up 12 basis points to 2.72%.