Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MBA: Refinance Applications Increase in Latest Survey, Mortgage Rates lowest since last November

by Bill McBride on 5/14/2014 07:00:00 AM

From the MBA: Refinance Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

Mortgage applications increased 3.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 9, 2014. ...

The Refinance Index increased 7 percent from the previous week to its highest level since the week ending April 11, 2014. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased less than 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased less than 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 12 percent lower than the same week one year ago. ...
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 4.39 percent, the lowest rate since November 2013, from 4.43 percent, with points increasing to 0.22 from 0.21 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (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 74% from the levels in May 2013 (one year ago).

As expected, with the mortgage rate increases, refinance activity is very low this year.

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

According to the MBA, the unadjusted purchase index is down about 12% from a year ago.

Note: I've wondered if the purchase index was understating purchase activity because small lenders tend to focus on purchases, and those small lenders might be underrepresented in the purchase index. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) told me the mortgage purchase index includes many smaller "purchase focused" lenders, and the MBA doesn't believe their purchase index is "skewed" by large lenders who were focused on refinance applications.