Wednesday, June 01, 2011

MBA: Mortgage Purchase application activity flat, Refinance activity declines

by Bill McBride on 6/01/2011 07:18:00 AM

The MBA reports: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

Refinance Index decreased 5.7 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was essentially unchanged from one week earlier.
...
"Interest rates fell last week as incoming economic data was weaker than anticipated. Despite this drop in rates, the number of refinance applications fell. In fact, the last time mortgage rates were this low, refinance volume was more than twenty percent higher. It is likely that many borrowers still cannot qualify to refinance given the lack of equity in their homes," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics.
...
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.58 percent from 4.69 percent, with points increasing to 1.01 from 0.69 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans. The 30-year rate is the lowest since November 2010.
MBA Purchase Index Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

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

Refinance activity decreased even as mortgage rates declined - probably because most people who can refinance did so last year when rates were lower.

The four week average of purchase activity is at about 1997 levels. Of course this doesn't includes cash buyers - and there is a very high percentage of cash buyers right now. This suggests weak existing home sales through mid-year (not counting cash buyers).