MBA: Refinancing Activity Soars

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday in its weekly application survey that refinancing volume surged 12.5 percent for the week ended Oct. 10 — 46.4 percent of total applications, relative to purchase money application activity. “Lower yields earlier in the week appeared to have spurred refinance activity, which then faded as the week went on and rates began to rise,” said Orawin Velz, MBA’s associate vice president of economic forecasting. And, as many of HW’s sources have noted, rates have continued their upward climb in recent days. The MBA’s own rate data suggested that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages saw an average increase of 48 basis points in just one week, rising to 6.47 percent; and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased 46 basis points to 6.17 percent. Overall application volume increased 5.1 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis from the previous week, the MBA said, but was still off 17 percent compared to the same week last year. More borrowers in trouble? As has been the case throughout the downturn, however, contrasting the MBA’s findings was a separate application index maintained by Mortgage Maxx LLC, known as the MAX; the MAX index fell 4.6 percent in the same week. Given that the MAX index corrects for multiple applications, the jump in application activity may signal that borrower interest in refi activity may have been higher, but fewer borrowers found programs they could actually qualify for amid a tightening credit cycle — spurring multiple applications. “The MAX has now plummeted 23 percent since Labor Day and is less than half of its 2008 high,” said Mortgage Maxx in a statement.  And the MAX is expected to continue to “grind lower in the immediate weeks,” according to publisher Paul Descloux. For more information, visit and Editor’s note: To contact the reporter on this story, email

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