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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

MBA: Refinance Share of Mortgage Applications under 50% for first time since 2009

by Calculated Risk on 5/07/2014 07:00:00 AM

For the first time since 2009 there were more purchase mortgage applications than refinance applications last week!

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

Mortgage applications increased 5.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 2, 2014. ...

The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 9 percent from one week earlier to the highest level since January 2014. ...
The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 49 percent of total applications from 50 percent the previous week.

"It is official: we are in a majority purchase market for the first time since 2009,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist. “A sizeable increase in purchase applications last week likely reflected the impact of somewhat lower mortgage rates as well as continued growth in the job market, as confirmed by Friday’s employment report from the BLS. Despite the strong increase in the purchase market last week, volume continues to run 16 percent behind last year's pace."
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 4.43 percent, the lowest rates since November 2013, from 4.49 percent, with points decreasing to 0.21 from 0.38 (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 75% 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.  

The 4-week average of the purchase index is now down about 18% from a year ago.

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.