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Mortgage applications continue upward climb

Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 10:36:24 AM

For a while it seemed that residential financing rates would only decline. However, that has changed recently, and the latest figures from Freddie Mac indicate another week of slight increases.

The government-sponsored enterprise reported that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.76 percent for the week ending Feb. 19. The rate for the previous seven-day period was 3.69 percent. The 15-year FRM ticked up from 2.99 percent to 3.05 percent over that same time span.

"Mortgage rates rose for the second consecutive week as 10-year Treasury yields surged," explained Freddie Mac deputy chief economist Len Kiefer. "Housing starts declined 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted pace of 1.065 million units and housing permits dipped 0.7 percent in January."

In addition, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that residential financing applications slipped by 13.2 percent for the week ending Feb. 13. The refinance share of mortgage activity fell 3 percent to 66 percent of all financing applications. Adjustable-rate mortgages made up only 5.3 percent of the total in early February.

Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the MBA, noted that the dip in applications was closely tied to the spike in mortgage rates, with larger loans experiencing a sharper drop.