Mortgage application volume up despite rising interest rates

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Mortgage application activity increased slightly from one week earlier even as the rate for the 30-year conforming loan rose to its highest level in four years.

The market composite index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's applications survey for the week ending March 2. The previous week's results included an adjustment for the Presidents Day holiday.

Even with rising interest rates the refinance index increased 2% from the previous week. The refinance application share remained unchanged from the previous week at 41.8%.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased 1% from one week earlier. The unadjusted purchase index increased 13% compared with the previous week and was 1% higher than the same week one year ago.

Adjustable-rate loan activity increased to 7.3% from 6.7%, while the share of Federal Housing Administration-guaranteed loans decreased to 10.1% from 10.3% the week prior.

The share of applications for Veterans Affairs-guaranteed loans decreased to 9.9% from 10.7% the week prior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Rural Development share increased to 0.9% from 0.8%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) increased to its highest level since January 2014, 4.65%, from 4.64%. For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $453,100), the average contract rate decreased 1 basis point to 4.56%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA remained unchanged from the week prior at 4.68%. For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages the average rate increased to its highest level since April 2011, 4.11%, from 4.07%. The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased 4 basis points to 3.81%.

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Mortgage applications Purchase Refinance Mortgage Bankers Association FHA The VA