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Mortgage applications fall over Thanksgiving week as rates rise

by John Yellig

Mortgage applications fell 7.2% on a week-over-week, seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended Nov. 26, while the average 30-year fixed-mortgage rate rose for the third week in a row to 3.31%, its highest level since April, the Mortgage Bankers Association said, citing its Market Composite Index.

The average contract interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed to 2.63% from 2.59%, while the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances of more than $548,250 decreased to 3.27% from 3.28%. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration increased to 3.42% from 3.27%. 

On an unadjusted basis, the market composite index, which measures mortgage-loan application volume, rose 4%. The refinance index, meanwhile, slid 15% from the previous week and was down 41% from the same week a year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 59.4% of total applications from 63.1% the previous week.

“Despite higher mortgage rates, purchase applications had a strong week, mostly driven by a 6% increase in conventional loan applications,” MBA associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting Joel Kan said in a press release. “Conventional loans tend to be larger than government loans, and this was evident in the average loan amount, which increased to $414,700 — the highest since February 2021. As home-price appreciation continues at a double-digit pace, buyers of newer, pricier homes continue to dominate purchase activity, while the share of first-time buyer activity remains depressed.”

The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity rose to 3.6% of total applications. The FHA share of total applications increased to to 8.9% from 8.6% in the preceding week, while the VA share of applications declined to 10% from 10.3%. The USDA share of applications rose to 0.5% from 0.4% the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index rose 5% from the previous week, while the unadjusted purchase index fell 30% on a weekly basis and 8% on an annual basis.

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