Demand for mortgages picks up: MBA

Mortgage demand continued to increase last week, as seen in an uptick in purchase activity. Mortgage applications rose by 3.7% in the week ending Jan. 19 compared to one week earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis, per the Mortgage Bankers Association‘s (MBA) weekly mortgage applications survey.

“Conventional and FHA purchase applications drove most of the increase last week as some buyers moved to act early this season,”Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist, said in a statement. “Refinance applications declined over the week and remained at low levels. There is still little incentive for homeowners to refinance with rates at these levels.”

The MBA survey shows the average mortgage rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($766,550 or less) increased to 6.78% last week, up from 6.75% the prior week. Rates on jumbo loans (greater than $766,550) rose to 6.94% up from 6.86%.

Loan types 

The MBA data shows that purchase apps increased by 8% from one week earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis, while refis were down 7% in the same period. Last week, refis comprised 32.7% of the total applications, down from 37.5% the previous week.

The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) share of total applications decreased to 14.1% last week, down from 14.3% the week prior. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) share fell to 13.7%, down from 14.2% the week before. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) share decreased to 0.4% from 0.5%.

The MBA survey, conducted weekly since 1990, covers more than 75% of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.