Wednesday, December 19, 2018

MBA: Mortgage Applications Decreased in Latest Weekly Survey

by Bill McBride on 12/19/2018 07:00:00 AM

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

Mortgage applications decreased 5.8 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 14, 2018.

... The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 7 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 10 percent compared with the previous week and was 2 percent higher than the same week one year ago.
...
“Despite mortgage rates falling across the board last week to their lowest levels in three months, mortgage applications also declined, as more potential borrowers likely stayed away because of ongoing financial market volatility and economic uncertainty,” Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Purchase applications decreased almost seven percent over the week and refinances decreased around two percent, led by a larger decline in government refinances compared to conventional refinances.”

Added Kan, “With rates continuing to slide lower, refinance borrowers with larger loan balances seemed more apt to take action. The average loan balance for refinance loans increased to its highest level since September 2017.”
...
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) decreased to its lowest level since September 2018, 4.94 percent, from 4.96 percent, with points decreasing to 0.43 from 0.48 (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 since 1990.

Refinance activity will not pick up significantly unless mortgage rates fall 50 bps or more from the recent level.

Mortgage Purchase IndexThe second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index

According to the MBA, purchase activity is up 2% year-over-year.