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2010-07-08 14:18:14
Mortgage Refinance Applications Surge to 13-Month

Mortgage Refinance Applications Surge to 13-Month High

July 7, 2010 by Staff  

Mortgage applicationBorrowers taking advantage of historically low mortgage rates – mostly to refinance – boosted a key index of home loan applications by 6.7 percent last week.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported today its purchase index measuring applications to buy a home dipped 2 percent, from a week earlier. Mortgage purchase applications have decreased 8 out of the last 9 weeks.

But refinancing activity has boosted the organization’s overall market composite index. Its refinance gauge rose 9.2 percent, more than offsetting the decrease in purchase applications.

The refinance share of mortgage activity last week increased to 78.7 percent of total applications from 76.8 percent the previous week, which is the highest refinance share observed in the survey since April 2009.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 4.68 percent from 4.67 percent, but still at historic lows.

Last week, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages set new record lows, down to 4.58 percent and 4.04 percent, respectively.

Mortgage rates remained at their lows as data on the job and housing markets were weaker than anticipated, said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of Research and Economics.

“As more homeowners locked in to these low rates, the level of refinance applications increased to a new 13-month high,” Fratantoni said.  “For the month of June, purchase applications declined almost 15 percent relative to the prior month, and were down more than 30 percent compared to April, the last month in which buyers were eligible for the tax credit.”

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