Mortgage applications filed during the week ending May 20 rose 1.1 percent on a 1.5 percent increase in the number of consumers seeking loans for new purchases, according to the latest weekly statistics from the Mortgage Bankers Association. On an unadjusted basis, the number of purchase applications was 3.1 percent higher than in the same week last year.
Meanwhile, the number of refinances sought by consumers rose 0.9 percent, and reached the highest level since December 10 of last year, the report said. In addition, the total share of the mortgage market held by refinance applications rose to 66.8 percent, up nominally from the 66.7 percent the week prior. Still, this was the highest refinance share observed since January 28.
The smaller rise in refinances may be due to a similar increase in the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which climbed to 4.69 percent from 4.6 percent the week before, the report said. In addition, the rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 3.78 percent from 3.75 percent.
Consumers often seek fewer refinances when mortgage interest rates increase because they generally believe they will save less money in the long haul if they agree to the higher APR.