Wednesday, February 26, 2020

MBA: Mortgage Applications Increased in Latest Weekly Survey

by Calculated Risk on 2/26/2020 07:00:00 AM

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

Mortgage applications increased 1.5 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, 2020. This week’s results include an adjustment for the Washington Birthday (Presidents’ Day) Holiday.

... The Refinance Index decreased 1 percent from the previous week and was 152 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 6 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 10 percent higher than the same week one year ago.
...
“Last week appears to have been the calm before the storm. Weaker readings on economic growth caused a slight drop in mortgage rates, bringing them back to their level two weeks ago, but applications overall moved 1.5 percent higher,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Refinance applications for conventional loans dropped a bit, but FHA refinances increased more than 22 percent. Purchase volume remained strong, supported both by low rates and the increased pace of construction over the past few months. With housing supply at low levels, new inventory is a positive development for prospective homebuyers.”

Added Fratantoni, “As fears regarding the coronavirus have increased, Treasury yields have dropped to record lows this week amid the ensuing financial market volatility. Next week’s results will show the impact this drop in Treasuries had on mortgage activity.”
...
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) decreased to 3.73 percent from 3.77 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
emphasis added
Mortgage Refinance IndexClick on graph for larger image.


The first graph shows the refinance index since 1990.

With lower rates, we saw a sharp increase in refinance activity, but mortgage rates would have to decline further to see a 2012 size refinance boom.

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

According to the MBA, purchase activity is up 10% year-over-year.