NEW YORK - Mortgage applications increased 4.8% in the week ended March 30, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

The refinance index increased 4.0% and the seasonally adjusted purchase index increased 7.2%.

"Applications to buy a home picked up last week, and are running more than two percent above the level reported at this time last year.  Home purchase applications for conventional loans are now about 10 percent above last year's level," said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics.  "Applications for government loans increased by more than 10 percent over the week, for both purchase and refinance, likely spurred by borrowers seeking to apply before scheduled increases in FHA mortgage insurance premiums at the beginning of April." 

The four-week moving average for the seasonally adjusted market index is down 2.07%. The four-week moving average is up 3.48% for the seasonally adjusted purchase index, while this average is down 3.73% for the refinance index.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 71.2% of total applications from 71.9% the previous week. This is the lowest refinance share since July 29, 2011. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.5% from 5.4% of total applications from the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) decreased to 4.16% from 4.23%.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.40% from 3.50%.

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