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Mortgage activity heats up on lower rates

Mortgage applications surged for the second straight week on the lower rates, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported.

For the week ending on Jan. 11, MBA’s composite index increased by 13.5 percent from a week earlier to hit the highest level since February. On an unadjusted basis, the index was up 45 percent.

The refinance index increased by 19 percent over the week, hitting the highest level since last March. The refinance share of mortgages also increased to a high since January 2018, rising by 1 percentage point to 46.8 percent of total applications.

MBA’s adjusted purchase index was up 9 percent over the week. On an unadjusted basis, the purchase index was 11 percent higher than a year earlier.

Mortgage rates remained at nine-month lows.

"Uncertainty regarding the government shutdown, slowing global growth, Brexit, a more patient Fed and a volatile stock market continued to keep rates from increasing," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist.

"The spring homebuying season is almost upon us, and if rates stay lower, inventory continues to grow and the job market maintains its strength, we do expect to see a solid spring market,” Fratantoni said. “The 11 percent gain in purchase volume compared to last year is a promising sign."


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