Mortgage applications stagnate

Mortgage applications and rates were stagnant last week.

Mortgage applications showed little change last week, according to a new report released by The Mortgage Bankers Association.

The association recently announced that mortgage applications rose 1.1 percent last week, down from a 1.2 percent increase in the week prior.

Applications to refinance were the basis for the increase, as that index rose 1 percent from the week before. The overall share of applications heavily favored refinancing, taking up 60.7 percent of the total applications, up from 59.7 percent.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index didn't fare as well, dropping 3 percent from the previous week. It's total share of applications also took a hit, dropping 6 percent week over week.

The rush to refinance is likely due to reports that the Federal Reserve would increase interest rates at their next meeting, which came true on December 16 when the board unanimously voted for a 0.25 percent increase. Though that's not much, the Fed plans to gradually increase rates, which will probably cause refinancing applications to drop.

Due to the anticipated increase, interest rates remained relatively flat as well. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage for balances at or below $417,000 stayed put at 4.14 percent. Over that amount, the 30-year mortgage dropped just one basis point, moving from 4.02 percent to 4.01 percent. Federal Housing Administration backed 30-year mortgages decreased by the same amount, decreasing to 3.9 percent from 3.91 percent.

The 15-year fixed rate mortgage moved from 3.39 percent to 3.38 percent week over week while five-to-one year adjustable rate mortgages increased to 3.25 percent from 3.23 percent.

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