Mortgage applications increase as better weather helps purchases

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Better weather allowed consumers to go shopping for homes and drive the increase in mortgage application volume compared with one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 13 showed its market composite index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 4.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week.

On an unadjusted basis, the index was 6% higher than one week ago.

"Home purchase applications strengthened both on a week-to-week and year-over-year basis, following a two-week slowdown driven in part by late season winter weather and the Easter holiday," Mike Fratantoni, the MBA chief economist, said in a press release. "Conventional home purchase applications drove most of the increase in purchase activity relative to government purchase loans."

The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased 6% from one week earlier. The unadjusted purchase index increased 7% compared with the previous week and was 10% higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of application activity decreased to 37.6% from 38.4% the previous week. This is the smallest share since September 2008.

Adjustable-rate loan activity increased to 6.6% from 6.3%, while the share of Federal Housing Administration-guaranteed loans decreased to 10.6% from 11% the week prior.

The share of applications for Veterans Affairs-guaranteed loans decreased to 10.4% from 10.9% and the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Rural Development share remained unchanged at 0.8% from the week prior.

"Rates were roughly flat compared to last week, as the downward pressure of geopolitical uncertainty offset the upward pressure of higher inflation and Fed minutes that signaled greater certainty of rate hikes this year," Fratantoni said.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) remained unchanged at 4.66%. For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $453,100), the average contract rate also remained unchanged, at 4.53%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased 4 basis points to 4.7%. For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages the average rate remained unchanged at 4.08%.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages increased 1 basis point to 3.94%.

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