Demand for purchase loans down 9.5% from a year ago

By Inman News, Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mortgage rates were little changed this week, with rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at or near 4 percent for the third week in a row, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Nov. 17, essentially unchanged from 3.99 percent last week and close to the all-time low in records dating to 1971 of 3.94 percent seen during the week ending Oct. 6. At this time a year ago, rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.39 percent before climbing to a 2011 high of 5.05 percent in February.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.31 percent with an average 0.7 point, little changed from 3.3 percent last week and close to an all-time low in records dating to 1991 of 3.26 percent seen during the first week of October. At this time a year ago, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.76 percent, before climbing to a 2011 high of 4.29 percent in February.

For five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans, rates averaged 2.97 percent with an average 0.6 point, down imperceptibly from 2.98 percent from last week and a hair above the all-time low in records dating to 2005 of 2.96 percent last seen during the week ending Nov. 3. At this time a year ago, rates on five-year ARMs were averaging 3.4 percent, before climbing to a 2011 high of 3.92 percent in February.

Rates on one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.98 percent with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from 2.95 percent from last week. The one-year ARM hit an all-time low in records dating to 1984 of 2.81 percent during the week ending Sept. 15.  At this time last year, the one-year ARM averaged 3.26 percent before climbing to a 2011 high of 3.4 percent in February.

Looking back a week, a separate survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed demand for purchase loans during the week ending Nov. 11 was down a seasonally adjusted 2.3 percent from the week before, and 9.5 percent from a year ago.

The survey, which included an adjustment to account for the Veterans Day holiday, showed demand for refinancings was down 12.2 percent from the week before, but that refi requests still accounted for 77.3 percent of all mortgage applications.

During October, the MBA said 50.6 of refinancing applications were for 30-year fixed-rate loans, while 28.8 percent of refi requests for were 15-year fixed-rate loans and 6 percent for ARM loans.

Among homebuyers, 85.5 percent sought 30-year fixed-rate loans, 6.9 percent sought 15-year fixed-rate loans, and 5.9 percent applied for ARM loans. That was the lowest ARM share for purchase loans since the MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey was rebenchmarked in January.