Mortgage Rates Hit 15-Month High as Loan Apps Rebound Slightly

Mortgage Rates Hit 15-Month High as Loan Apps Rebound SlightlyThe positive: mortgage applications for purchases and refinancing picked up some of the lost ground from the past few weeks, increasing 5 percent last week.
The negative: mortgage rates rose again — to a 15-month high – and a national index of refinance applications is still 36 percent below its recent peak at the beginning of May.
Borrowers who were waiting to see where rates would go are starting to realize that they need to move quicker on both purchases and refinances.
That burst of realization accounted for the rebound in mortgage activity last week, according to the latest update released Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
“The airways were filled last week and the week before with news of the Armageddon in mortgage rates,” Mark Hanson, a California-based mortgage and housing analyst, told CNBC.  “A motivator for the few fence-sitters that do exist.”
The mortgage bankers’ Refinance Index increased 5 percent last week, compared to the previous week. But that level is still 11 percent lower than two weeks prior, and more than a third below the May high.
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 69 percent of total applications from 68 percent the previous week.
But the HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) share of refinance applications fell from 32 percent the prior week to 29 percent last week. HARP is the government program offered to underwater borrowers who hold mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Meanwhile, mortgage rates are still slipping.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less), increased to 4.15 percent, the highest rate since March 2012, from 4.07 percent, for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500), increased to 4.25 percent, the highest rate since May 2012, from 4.20 percent, for 80 percent LTV loans.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) increased to 3.81 percent, the highest rate since April 2012, from 3.76 percent, for 80 percent LTV loans.
The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.32 percent, the highest rate since April 2012, from 3.23 percent, for 80 percent LTV loans.

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