Purchase Applications at Highest Level in 20 Months

Purchase applications have risen to the their highest level since April 2011, contributing to a 15.2% increase on a seasonally adjusted basis in total mortgage application volume for the week ended Jan. 11, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The data for the previous week includes an adjustment for New Year’s Day.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, purchase applications are up 13% over the week of Jan. 4, but on an unadjusted basis they are up 47% over that time frame. Total application activity is up 45% on an unadjusted basis from the previous week.

The California Association of Realtors reported home sales surging in that state in December because of worries about the fiscal cliff. DataQuick said Southern California home sales are at their highest level in three years.

The Refinance Index increased by 15% while the market share of refi apps remained at 82%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) remains at 3.61%. The average contract interest rate for 30-year FHA-insured loans increased four basis points to 3.39%.

The MBA added that the average contract rate for jumbo 30-year FRMs rose 10 basis points to 3.88%, while the rate for 15-year FRMs remains at 2.88%. The rate for the 5/1 ARM is up two basis points to 2.66%.