The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) announced on Wednesday that the
mortgage application volume in the U.S. fell 4.1 percent in the week ended March
31, following a 2.9 percent advance the week before. That marked the first drop
in total mortgage application volume in five weeks.
According to the MBA’s data, last week’s decrease in mortgage
applications reflected a 5.0 percent decline
in mortgage refinance applications and a 4.0 drop in mortgage applications to
purchase a home.
The report also revealed that the average fixed 30-year mortgage rate fell from 6.45 percent
to 6.40 percent, its lowest level since the week ended February 10 (6.39 percent).
Commenting on the latest survey results, Mike Fratantoni, MBA Chief
Economist, noted that purchase application volume decreased a bit even with
another small fall in mortgage rates, and refinance application volume continued
to be quite low. “Although the mortgage rate for conforming balance loans
declined by five basis points over the week to 6.40 percent, the mortgage rate
for jumbo loans increased by nine basis points to 6.36 percent,” he added. “While
we have seen relative weakness at the high end of the housing market in recent
months, the divergence in rates suggests that banks may be tightening credit in
response to recent challenges, preserving balance sheet capacity as deposit
balances have declined.”