At FREEandCLEAR, we follow the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA) mortgage applications index which measures both purchase and refinance applications for mortgage lenders across the country. An increase in the MBA applications index reflects an increase in mortgage applications while a decrease in the index reflects a decline in mortgage applications.
For the week ended November 28th, the composite mortgage application index, which includes both home purchase mortgages and refinancings, decreased 7.3% as a 13.0% decrease in refinance applications offset a 3.0% increase in purchase applications. The increase in purchase applications exceeded analyst expectations for the holiday-shortened week and suggests that home buyers may be responding to lower interest rates and stabilizing home prices. The decline in the refinance index continued a downward trend in refinance applications over the past month and a half. Although interest rates continue to be attractive, refinance applications have steadily declined after an initial burst of activity when rates dropped in October. Interest rates for conforming loans continued their gradual downward trend, decreasing to 4.08%, as compared to 4.15% for the prior week. (Source: Bloomberg)
What it Means for Mortgage Borrowers
The increase in the purchase mortgage index was a welcome and surprising development given that Thanksgiving week is typically a slow time for mortgage applications. Home buyers appear to be taking advantage of attractive interest rates and stabilizing home prices while refinancing activity seems to have dried up as the majority of qualified existing home owners have already refinanced their mortgages. Monitor the INTEREST RATES feature on FREEandCLEAR to review rates for lenders in your area and then use our Mortgage Selector to determine the mortgage amount and program that are right for you.
The FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Expert