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Mortgage application activity was on the rise again, according to Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) data for the week ending Dec. 1.

The Market Composite Index, the MBA’s measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the index shot up by 43% compared with the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index dipped by 0.3% from one week earlier while the unadjusted index soared by 35% – although the latter was also 17% lower than the same week one year ago.

The Refinance Index was up by 14% from the previous week and was 10% higher than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 34.7% of total applications from 30.6%.

Among the federal programs, the FHA share of total applications increased to 15% from 13.5% the week prior while the VA share of total applications increased to 12.8% from 12.6% and the USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.5%.

MBA Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist Joel Kan observed, “Refinance applications saw the strongest week in two months, increasing on a year-over-year basis for the second consecutive week for the first time since late 2021. The overall level of refinance applications is still very low, but recent increases could signal that 2023 was the low point in this cycle for refinance activity, consistent with our originations forecast. Purchase applications remained 17% lower than a year ago, held back by low inventory and still-challenging affordability conditions.”

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