Purchase Activity Jumps Despite Slight Rate Uptick

Mortgage Weekly Update

Mortgage applications slipped again this week, though only slightly. According to the latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage activity decreased 0.3% over the past week. 

Refinances were down 2%, and purchase loans rose 4%. Both were higher than last year’s numbers (up 98% and 26%, respectively). It’s the 26th straight week that purchase activity has remained above 2019’s levels.

“Mortgage market activity was mixed last week, despite the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage staying below 3%,” said Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting for MBA. “Housing demand remains supported by the ongoing recovery in the job market, and an increased appetite from households seeking more space because of the pandemic.”

The average 30-year interest rate ticked up slightly, from 2.98% to 2.99%, while shares of VA and FHA loans fell for the week.

More in mortgage and housing news

  • The share of mortgage loans in forbearance dropped yet again. According to MBA, 5.47% of all mortgage loans are still in forbearance, down from 5.67% a week prior. An estimated 2.7 million homeowners are currently on a forbearance plan.
  • Mortgages were easier to come by in October, MBA data suggests. According to the group’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index, lending standards loosened last month, with overall mortgage availability rising 2.3%. It was the first time availability improved since July.
  • Homebuilder confidence has hit a new, all-time high, according to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders. It’s the third record high in as many months.
  • In other construction news, housing starts rose 4.9% from September and October and are now 14.2% higher than one year ago. According to the Census Bureau, building permits were also up, with a 2.3% increase over the year.

This week in mortgage rates

Mortgage rates rose slightly on most products, with the exception of jumbo loans, which saw a small dip for the week.

Here’s how rates looked for each loan product:

  • Conforming 30-year, fixed-rate loans: 2.99%, 0.37 points
  • Jumbo 30-year, fixed-rate loans: 3.11%, 0.28 points
  • FHA 30-year, fixed-rate loans: 3.11%, 0.37 points
  • 15-year, fixed-rate loans: 2.59%, 0.35 points
  • 5/1 adjustable-rate loans: 2.84%, 0.53 points

Make sure to check back here next week for the latest on interest rates.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.