PhotoMortgage applications rose last week, despite a decline in purchase applications.

According to the weekly survey conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association, overall applications were up 4.4% in the week ending May 19.

While the unadjusted Purchase Index was down 2%, the Refinance Index shot up 11% to its highest level since March 2017. That pushed the refinance share of mortgage activity to 43.9% of total applications from 41.1% the week before.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity rose to 8.2% of total applications, the FHA share inched up to 10.8% from 10.6% a week earlier, the VA share dipped to 10.5% from 10.7%, and the USDA share of total applications was unchanged at 0.8%.

Contract interest rates

  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) fell six basis points -- from 4.23% to 4.17% -- its lowest level since November 2016, with points increasing to 0.39 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year FRMs with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) fell to its lowest level since last November 2016 to 4.11%, from 4.23%, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.30 (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 slipped four basis points to 4.07%, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year FRMs dropped from 3.51% to 3.45%, its lowest level since November 2016, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs was down three basis points to 3.27%, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.21 (including the origination fee) for 80%t 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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