Wednesday, November 02, 2005

MBA: Mortgage Activity Continues to Fall

by Bill McBride on 11/02/2005 10:32:00 AM

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly survey today:

The Market Composite Index — a measure of mortgage loan application volume – was 646.7, a decrease of 4.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 679.1, one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 5.2 percent compared with the previous week but was down 15.2 percent compared with the same week one year earlier.
"The seasonally adjusted purchase index is down 7.6 percent since last month. This decline is consistent with our expectations of a softening from the record level of new home sales during the first three quarters of 2005," said Doug Duncan, Chief Economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Click on graph for larger image.

This graph show the seasonally adjusted MBA Market and Purchase indices since the beginning of July. The market index has been steadily declining for several months, mostly reflecting a slowing in refinance activity.

The purchase index had stayed steady, reflecting the continued strength in new and existing homes sales. Over the last month, the Purchase index has started to fall, probably indicating slowing home sales (these numbers are seasonally adjusted).

Mortgage interest rates continued to rise:
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.21 percent from 6.06 percent on[e] week earlier...

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.75 percent from 5.57 percent...

The average contract interest rate for one-year ARMs increased to 5.39 percent from 5.37 percent one week earlier...
First we saw rising inventories, now it appears we are seeing more signs of falling activity. Next I would expect to see prices flatten out or even start to decline.