Mortgage application activity was little changed overall in the holiday-shortened week ending Nov. 23. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported its Refinance Index fell 1.5% to 4576, while the Purchase Index rose 2.6% to 206. Overall, activity slipped just 0.9%. The data was adjusted for the Thanksgiving Day holiday.
Some strengthening is likely in the next report as mortgage rates hold near record territory. According to the MBA's survey, the contract interest rate for 30-year fixed rate conforming loans averaged 3.53%, down one basis point from the prior week and just a basis point above its historic low. 30-year Federal Housing Administration rates were unchanged at 3.36%.
Through the first three weeks of November, mortgage rates have held little changed on average from October while refinancing activity is down just over 5% percent on average. Looking ahead to December and January prepayment outlooks where this activity will be an influence, speeds are currently predicted slightly lower in December and flat to slightly higher in January. Day count is an influence as well.
Nearer term for November, speeds on average are projected to be flat to slightly lower in IFR Markets' sample. The largest percentage increases are expected in 3.5% coupons with the largest declines in 5.5% through 6.5% coupons. The reports for the three agencies will be out on the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 6. Paydowns are estimated at $146 billion with net issuance likely to be modestly positive as month to date gross supply is currently at $138 billion.