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Mortgage application rise in latest survey

Mortgage applications increased on a surge in refinances as key interest rates fell, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported in its latest weekly survey.

For the week ending Feb. 24, MBA’s composite index rose 5.8 percent seasonally adjusted over the prior week. Refinance applications were up 5 percent to reach the highest level since January, while purchase activity rose on an adjusted basis by 7 percent.

Despite the uptick in refinance activity, the share of refinances fell 1.1 percentage points to 45.1 percent of all applications,  MBA reported. That is the lowest share of the overall market since November 2008.  

"Rates declined last week as investors favored U.S. Treasury bonds due mainly to political concerns from abroad," said Joel Kan, MBA associate vice president of industry surveys and forecasting.

"The purchase index is back to where it was three weeks ago, while the refinance index is the highest since December 2016," Kan continued. "Compared to the same week one year ago, the 30 year fixed rate was 51 basis points higher last week, and the refinance index is down almost 46 percent."


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