Purchase Mortgage Applications Hit 19-Year Low: MBA

The mortgage market has failed to shift from refinances to purchases as anticipated, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest weekly report on applications.

Purchase applications reached their lowest level since 1995 last week, as the index decreased 4% from the previous week.

Furthermore, the unadjusted purchase index was 15% lower than the same week a year earlier, the report said.

"This is the time of the year we would expect a significant pickup in purchase activity, and we are not yet seeing it," says Mike Fratantoni, the association's chief economist.

Overall, mortgage loan application volume fell 8.5% week over week.

The refinance share of mortgage activity was down to 58% of total applications, which represents the lowest level since September. Mortgage loan refinances fell 11% last week compared with the previous week.

The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity remained unchanged at 8% of total applications.

The average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of $417,000 or less increased to 4.53%, the highest in approximately five weeks, when it was 4.5%.

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed jumbo mortgage were 4.47%, while 30-year mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration were 4.17%.

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