Applications Off for Second Consecutive Week

Mortgage application volume declined 1.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ended Feb. 15, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Meanwhile, the average contract rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen nine of the last 10 weeks, and now is as high as it was last August.

Quicken Loans chief economist Bob Walters said, “This is the second straight week of declines in mortgage applications. While we have seen steady improvement in many housing sectors, the housing market is still waiting for big waves to push homebuyer confidence higher.”

The Refinance Index, which is not adjusted, was down 2% from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index was down 2% over the same time period. But when compared with the same week last year on an unadjusted basis, the purchase index is 17% higher.

Refi application volume has slipped to its lowest share since May 2012, down one percentage point to 77%.

The average contract rate for the 30-year conforming FRM (MBA defines this as a loan with a balance of $417,500 or under) increased three basis points to 3.78%. Federal Housing Administration-insured loans had an average contract rate for the week of 3.54%, an increase of one basis point. The rate for this product is also at its highest since last August.

Meanwhile, jumbo 30-year FRMs saw its average contract rate go in the opposite direction, falling four basis points to 3.94%. The 15-year FRM hit its high point since last September, up two basis points to 3.03%.

Adjustable-rate mortgages made up a mere 4% of the week’s loan applications, with the average contract rate for the 5/1 ARM remaining at 2.66%.