Mortgage applications rose 7.4% in the week ended March 3 despite a continued rebound in mortgage rates, which rose the highest level since November 2022, the Mortgage Bankers Association said, citing its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.
The average contract interest rate for conforming 30-year mortgages of $726,200 or less jumped to 6.79% from 6.71% the week before, while the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA climbed to 6.56% from 6.45%.
At the same time, MBA’s refinance index rose 9% from the week before, as the refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 28.9% of mortgage applications from 28.7% in the preceding week.
“Even with higher rates, there was an uptick in applications last week, but this was in comparison to two weeks of declines to very low levels, including a holiday week,” MBA Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist Joel Kan said in a news release. “Comparing the application indices from a year ago, purchase applications were still down 42%, and refinance activity was down 76%. Many borrowers are waiting on the sidelines for rates to come back down.”
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances of more than $726,200 increased to 6.49% from 6.44%, and the average contract interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 6.25% from 6.13%.