US mortgage applications fall

March 22nd, 2012 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 22 (IANS) The latest drop in US mortgage applications was due to mortgage rates climbing up to the highest level since December 2011, according to the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released Wednesday.

The US Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said the Market Composite Index of US mortgage applications, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 7.4 percent in the week ending March 16, 2012 on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week.

The Refinance Index dipped 9.3 percent from the previous week, while the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index edged down 1.0 percent, reported Xinhua.

As a result, the four week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index fell 2.79 percent from the previous week. The four week moving average dropped 4.31 percent for the seasonally adjusted Refinance Index, while this average ticked up 3.25 percent for the Purchase Index, said the survey.

In addition, the association said the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages last week increased to 3.93 percent from 3.82 percent, while the average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.47 percent from 3.36 percent.

“With the rate increase last week, refinances are obviously slowing, and the refinance share at 73 percent is down to its lowest level since last July,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s senior vice president of research and education.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all US retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990.

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