PhotoAfter rising for three consecutive weeks, mortgage applications have moved lower.

The latest survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows applications were down 2.7% in the week ending March 17.

The Refinance Index was also lower, dropping 3% from the previous week, pushing the refinance share of mortgage activity down to 45.1% of total applications from 45.6% the week before.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity rose to 9.0% of total applications -- the highest level since October 2014.

The FHA share dipped to 10.9% from 11.1%, the VA share of total applications fell 1% to 10.1%, and the USDA share of total applications was unchanged at 0.9%.

Contract interest rates

  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) was unchanged at 4.46%, with points increasing to 0.41 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate was unchanged from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year FRMs with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) fell four basis points -- to 4.40% from 4.44% -- with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year FRMs backed by the FHA rose from 4.29% to 4.33% -- its highest level since January 2014, with points increasing to 0.40 from 0.39 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year FRMs inched up two basis points to 3.68%, with points decreasing to 0.37 from 0.45 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate was unchanged from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs slipped to 3.41% from 3.45%, with points increasing to 0.25 from 0.24 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The survey covers over 75% of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.


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