Mortgage application activity slowed last week as rates continued to rise, according to new data from Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
The MBA’s Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was down by 5.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier and was 6% lower on an unadjusted basis. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index dropped 4.8% and was an even 5% lower on an unadjusted basis – the latter was also 26% lower than the level recorded one year ago.
The Refinance Index took an 8% tumble from the previous week and was 43% lower than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 27.4% of total applications from 28% during the previous week.
Among the federal programs, the FHA share of total applications decreased to 12% from 12.1% while the VA share of total applications decreased to 12.2% from 12.9% and the USDA share remained unchanged at 0.4%.
“Mortgage rates increased last week even as Treasury yields were essentially flat, with the spread between the two rates widening to 310 basis points. Mortgage application activity slowed, as most mortgage rates in the survey increased, with the 30-year fixed rate jumping nine basis points to its highest level in two months at 6.57%,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist. “Purchase applications decreased 5% to its slowest pace in a month, as buyers remain wary of this rate volatility, but also as for-sale inventory in many parts of the country remains scarce.”
Kan also explained the decline in refinance activity by observing that “most borrowers have lower rates on their mortgages, and those who are in the market are extremely rate sensitive.”