Surge in Weekly Refinance Mortgage Applications Leveling Out

The volume of applications submitted for refinancing continued to rise as applications for purchase mortgages fell again in the week ending May 28, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The 2.4% increase in refinance applications showed signs of leveling off from last week’s 17% surge. It’s the fourth straight week of increase in the MBA’s refinance index, which now rests at its highest level since October 2009. Refinancing accounted for 73.8% of total applications, from 72.2% the previous week. Purchase mortgage applications fell 4.1% this week, at a slightly higher rate than 3.3% last week. The purchase index is now at its lowest level in 13 years, since April 1997. “With another week of historically low mortgage rates, the trend from the prior three weeks continued, as refinance applications increased while purchase applications dropped,” said MBA vice president of research and economics Michael Fratantoni. “Purchase applications are now almost 40% below their level four weeks ago, while the refinance share, at 74%, is at its highest level since December.” Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) accounted for just 5.2% of total application activity, down from 6% the previous week as more prospective borrowers pursued fixed-rate mortgages. “[T]he ARM share dropped last week to its lowest level since March of this year, as borrowers took the opportunity to lock in at historically low fixed mortgage rates,” Fratantoni added. As HousingWire reported, mortgage interest rates continued to decline last week, setting new record lows in two weekly surveys. Write to Diana Golobay.

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