PhotoIt's now two gains in a row for mortgage applications.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reports applications were up 3.3% in the week ending March 3, with the Refinance Index surging 5% from the previous week to the highest level since December. That advance helped push the refinance share of mortgage activity to 45.4% of total applications from 45.1% the previous week, which included an adjustment for the Presidents Day holiday.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity rose to 7.7% of total applications -- the highest level since October 2014. The FHA share of total applications dropped to 11.8% from 12.3% the week before, the VA share of inched down 0.1% to 11.6%, 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) rose four basis points -- to 4.36%¬†from 4.30% --¬†with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.38 (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 $424,100) went from 4.23% to 4.27%, with points increasing to 0.26 from 0.25 (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 11 basis points to 4.18%, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year FRMs increased to 3.57% from 3.51%, with points unchanged at 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs shot up 13 basis points to 3.48%, with points decreasing to 0.20 from 0.29 (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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