Wednesday, February 26, 2014

MBA: Mortgage Purchase Index lowest since 1995

by Bill McBride on 2/26/2014 07:01:00 AM

From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

Mortgage applications decreased 8.5 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 21, 2014. ...

The Refinance Index decreased 11 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent from one week earlier to the lowest level since 1995. ...

"Purchase applications were little changed on an unadjusted basis last week, but this is the time of a year we would expect a significant pickup in purchase activity, and we are not yet seeing it,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to 4.53 percent, the highest rate since week ending January 17, 2014, from 4.50 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.26 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) increased to 4.47 percent, the highest rate since week ending January 24, 2014, from 4.45 percent, with points increasing to 0.13 from 0.11 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.
emphasis added
Mortgage Refinance Index Click on graph for larger image.


The first graph shows the refinance index.

The refinance index is down 72% from the levels in May 2013.

With the mortgage rate increases, refinance activity will be significantly lower in 2014 than in 2013.


Mortgage Purchase Index The second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index.  

The 4-week average of the purchase index is now down about 16% from a year ago - and the weekly purchase index is at the lowest level since 1995.

The purchase index is probably understating purchase activity because small lenders tend to focus on purchases, and those small lenders are underrepresented in the purchase index - but this is still very weak.

Note: Jumbo rates are still below conforming rates.