Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 6 percent week to week and were 8 percent higher than one year ago. Applications to refinance, which are more dependent on interest rate levels, rose 4 percent for the week and are 44 percent higher than they were one year ago.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.89 percent from 3.90 percent, with points decreasing to 0.36 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans, according to the MBA survey.
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Both conventional and government loans moved higher, showing that more first-time buyers may be getting into the market. Government-insured FHA loans, as well as Veterans Administration loans, tend to be the product of choice for these buyers, and their volume grew by 19 percent from a year ago.
Mortgage rates edged lower this week, after a bounce higher in the middle of last week.
"3.75 percent remains the most prevalently-quoted conventional 30-year fixed rate for top tier scenarios. Most of the lenders that moved up to 3.875 percent with last week's spike are now back down to 3.75 percent, and a few of the most aggressive lenders are offering 3.625 percent," wrote Matthew Graham of Mortgage News Daily.
With both the month-end and quarter-end falling this week, and traders readying for the monthly employment report Friday, rates are not moving much. More volatility will likely be ahead.