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Mortgage Applications Drop 5.8 Percent Amid Stock Market Plunge

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Wednesday, 19 December 2018 01:36 PM

U.S. borrowers filed fewer loan requests to buy a home and to refinance one last week amid the stock-market plunge despite lower home-loan rates.

Mortgage applications decreased 5.8 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) weekly mortgage applications survey for the week ending December 14.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 5.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week. 

"Despite mortgage rates falling across the board last week to their lowest levels in three months, mortgage applications also declined, as more potential borrowers likely stayed away because of ongoing financial market volatility and economic uncertainty," Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting.

"Purchase applications decreased almost seven percent over the week and refinances decreased around two percent, led by a larger decline in government refinances compared to conventional refinances."

Added Kan, "With rates continuing to slide lower, refinance borrowers with larger loan balances seemed more apt to take action. The average loan balance for refinance loans increased to its highest level since September 2017."

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) decreased to its lowest level since September 2018, 4.94 percent, from 4.96 percent.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to its lowest level since September 2018, 4.37 percent, from 4.41 percent.

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Demand for mortgages tumbled last week amid the stock-market plunge despite lower home-loan rates.
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2018-36-19
Wednesday, 19 December 2018 01:36 PM
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