Wednesday, July 21, 2010

MBA: Mortgage Purchase Applications increase slightly last week

by Bill McBride on 7/21/2010 07:43:00 AM

The MBA reports: Interest Rate Drops Spur Refinance Applications in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

The Refinance Index increased 8.6 percent from the previous week and was the highest Refinance Index observed in the survey since the week ending May 15, 2009.
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The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3.4 percent from one week earlier, driven by an 8.0 percent increase in government purchase applications.
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"As rates on 30- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to the lowest levels recorded in the survey, refinance activity increased last week. The refinance index is up almost 30 percent over the past 4 weeks, but is still well below the peak seen last spring,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics.
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The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.59 percent from 4.69 percent, with points increasing to 1.04 from 0.96 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans. This was the lowest 30-year contract rate ever recorded in the survey.
MBA Purchase Index Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the MBA Purchase Index and four week moving average since 1990.

Although the weekly applications index increased slightly, the four-week moving average is at a 15 year low (lowest since August 1995). The four week average is off 36% since the mini-peak in April (the weekly index is off 42% since the end of April).

This collapse in the mortgage application index has already shown up as a decline in new home sales, and will show up in the July and August existing home sales reports (counted at close of escrow).