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Mortgage applications decline despite drop in interest rates

by John Yellig

Mortgage applications fell 3.3% on a week-over-week, seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended Oct. 29, while the average 30-year fixed-mortgage rate slid to 3.24% points from 3.30%, the Mortgage Bankers Association said, citing its Market Composite Index.

The average contract interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 2.58% from 2.59%. On an unadjusted basis, the market composite index, which measures mortgage-loan application volume, rose 4%.

The refinance index, meanwhile, slid 2% from the previous week and was down 9% from the same week a year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 62.2% of total applications from 63.3% the previous week.

“Mortgage rates decreased for the first time since August, as concerns about supply-chain bottlenecks, waning consumer confidence, weaker economic growth and rising inflation pushed Treasury yields lower,” MBA associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting Joel Kan said in a press release. “Most of the decline in rates came later in the week, which is likely why refinance applications declined to the lowest level since January 2020, and the overall share of activity fell to the lowest since July 2021. Government refinance applications fell for the sixth straight week, as it becomes evident that an increasing number of borrowers have already refinanced.”  

The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity rose to 3.2% of total applications from 3.1%. The FHA share of total applications slid to to 9.2% from 10.4% in the preceding week, while the VA share of applications declined to 9.9% from 10.6%. The USDA share of applications was flat, at 0.5%.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index declined by 2% from the previous week, while the unadjusted purchase index fell 3% on a weekly basis and was down 9% on an annual basis.

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