RISMEDIA

March 10, 2011

Mortgage applications increased 15.5% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 4, 2011.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 15.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 16.1% compared with the previous week. The previous week did not include a holiday adjustment for Presidents’ Day. The Refinance Index increased 17.2% from the previous week and was the highest Refinance Index observed since the week ending January 14, 2011. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 12.5% from one week earlier and was the highest Purchase Index recorded this year. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 14.3% compared with the previous week and was 14.3% lower than the same week one year ago.

“Taking into account typical seasonal patterns, purchase applications rose to their highest level of the year last week. On an unadjusted basis, purchase application activity is the highest since last May,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “An improving job market is beginning to pave the way for an improving housing market. Additionally, mortgage interest rates remained below 5% for a second week, maintaining affordability for buyers and leading to an increase in refinance applications.”

The four week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index is up 2.7%. The four week moving average is up 1.2% for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, while this average is up 3.6% for the Refinance Index.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 65.5% of total applications from 64.9%the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.0% from 5.5% of total applications from the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.93% from 4.84%, with points decreasing to 0.87 from 1.29 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans. The effective rate also increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 4.17%, with points increasing to 1.15 from 1.07 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

For more information, visit www.mortgagebankers.org.