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MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest Weekly Survey

From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications decreased 3.9 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 13, 2021.

… The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and was 8 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 19 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates were at their highest levels in around a month, with the 30-year fixed rate increasing above 3 percent to 3.06 percent. Mortgage rates followed an overall increase in Treasury yields last week, which started higher from the strong July jobs report before slowing because of weaker consumer sentiment and concerns about rising COVID-19 cases,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The increase in mortgage rates caused a 5 percent decrease in refinancing, driven by a 7 percent drop in conventional refinance applications. Even though rates are 7 basis points lower than the same week a year ago, the refinance index is around 8 percent lower. The eligible pool of homeowners who stand to benefit from a refinance is smaller now.”

Added Kan, “Purchase applications also saw a mixed results, with conventional purchase applications down and government purchases up. Government purchase loans, such as FHA loans, are typically popular with first-time buyers. Despite a second-straight weekly decrease, average loan sizes remain close to record highs. This is a continuing sign that sales prices are still elevated, driven by stiff competition leading to accelerating home-price growth.”

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) increased to 3.06 percent from 2.99 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
emphasis added

Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the refinance index since 1990.

With low rates, the index remains elevated.

The second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index

According to the MBA, purchase activity is down 19% year-over-year unadjusted.

Note: The year ago comparisons for the unadjusted purchase index are now difficult since purchase activity picked up in late May 2020.


Note: Red is a four-week average (blue is weekly).

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