Mortgage applications surge following the Fed’s latest stimulus announcement. Learn more.
Mortgage applications rose nearly 17 percent in the week ending September 28, according to data released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association or MBA, which linked the spike to QE3, the latest Federal Reserve strategy to stimulate the economy by purchasing an additional $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month.
The MBA Weekly Mortgage Application survey tracked a seasonally adjusted 16.6 percent increase in mortgage applications, while the Refinance Index rose 20 percent week-over-week to hit a high last seen in April of 2009, according to today’s report.
“Refinance application volume jumped to the highest level in more than three years last week as each of the five mortgage rates in MBA’s survey dropped to new record lows in the survey,” Mike Fratantoni, vice president of research and economics at MBA, said in a statement. “Financial markets continue to adjust to QE3, as the ongoing presence of the Federal Reserve as a significant buyer of mortgage-backed securities applies downward pressure on rates.”
Refinancing accounted for 83 percent of total mortgage applications, up from 81 percent from the week before. The average interest rate for a conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.53 percent from 3.63 percent, with average points falling to 0.35 percent from 0.41 percent, according to the MBS. (These loans have balances of $417,500 or less and a down payment of 20 percent.) Average rates for such loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, which insures loans made by FHA-approved lends, fell to 3.37 percent from 3.44 percent.
The average rate for a conventional 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 2.98 percent from 2.9 percent over the same period, with points decreasing from 0.27 to 0.41, the MBA reported.
As interest rates drop and refinancing soars, borrowers are prepaying their mortgages at a record rate, according to a report released today by LPS Applied Analytics, which finds that during the month of August borrowers prepaid mortgages at the highest rate in since 2005.
Borrowers with at least 20 percent of equity in their homes has the highest prepayment rates, but underwater mortgages showed the biggest increase in prepayment rates, according to Herb Blecher, senior vice president of LPS, a Jacksonville, FL, mortgage data and technology firm. Prepayment rates for mortgages with a combined loan-to-value ratio of more than 120 percent increase 65 percent for the year to date. According to Blecher, the increase reflects the impact of the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program.