PhotoMortgage applications have risen for the first time in four weeks.

After posting three straight declines, applications were up 2.5% in the week ending December 16, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The average loan size for purchase applications was $312,000 -- its second-highest survey level.

The Refinance Index jumped 3% from the previous week, with the refinance share of mortgage activity rising to 57.9% of total applications from 57.2% the previous week.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity rose to 6.5% of total applications -- its highest level since February 2016. The average loan size for purchase applications reached its second-highest survey level at $312,000.

The FHA share of total applications slipped to 11.5% from 11.6% the prior week, the VA share inched up to 12.0% from 11.9%, and the USDA share of total applications was 0.8%.

Contract interest rates

  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) rose 13 basis points -- from 4.28% to 4.41 % -- its highest level since May 2014, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year FRMs with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) advanced increased to its highest level since April 2014 -- 4.36%, from 4.29% -- with points increasing to 0.26 from 0.24 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year FRMs backed by the FHA jumped 13 basis points to 4.15%, its highest level since April 2014, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year FRMs went from 3.52% to 3.64%, the highest level since January 2014, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs surged 17 basis points to 3.45%, its highest level since September 2013, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

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


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