Mortgage applications increased 5.2% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 4, 2019.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 5.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 5% compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 10% from the previous week and was 163% higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1% from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1% compared with the previous week and was 10 % higher than the same week one year ago.

“U.S. Treasury rates moved sharply lower last week, as data showing weakness in the services sector was a sign that slowing economic growth is not confined to the manufacturing sector. This in turn caused a flight to safety by investors, resulting in mortgage rates dropping across the board, with the 30-year fixed rate decreasing nine basis points to 3.9% – the lowest level in a month,” said Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “As seen a few times this year, the large drop in rates caused another surge in refinance applications. The refinance index increased 10% to its highest level since late August, with both conventional and government refinances experiencing an upswing.”

Added Kan, “Purchase activity was muted, declining almost 1%, but was still 10% higher than a year ago. Despite low rates, the cloudier economic outlook and ongoing market uncertainty may be keeping some potential homebuyers away from the market this fall.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 60.4% of total applications from 58.0% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 5.3% of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.3% from 10.4% the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.3% from 12.4% the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.5% the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) decreased to 3.90% from 3.99%, with points decreasing to 0.37 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) decreased to 3.90% from 3.98%, with points remaining unchanged at 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.75% from 3.79%, with points increasing to 0.29 from 0.23 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.35% from 3.43%, with points decreasing to 0.30 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.25% from 3.42%, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.