Wednesday, April 22, 2020

MBA: Mortgage Applications Decreased, Purchase Applications down 31% YoY

by Calculated Risk on 4/22/2020 07:00:00 AM

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

Mortgage applications decreased 0.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 17, 2020.

... The Refinance Index decreased 1 percent from the previous week and was 225 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 31 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
“Mortgage applications were essentially unchanged last week, as a slight drop in refinance activity was offset by a 2 percent increase in purchase applications. California and Washington, two states hit hard by COVID-19, saw another week of rising activity – partly driving the overall increase. Despite the weekly gain, the purchase index remained close to its lowest level since 2015, and was over 30 percent lower than a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The pandemic-related economic stoppage has caused some buyers and sellers to delay their decisions until there are signs of a turnaround. This has resulted in reduced buyer traffic, less inventory, and March existing-homes sales falling to their slowest annual pace in nearly a year.”
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) remained unchanged at 3.45 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.29 (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.

The refinance index has been very volatile recently depending on rates and liquidity.

Note the Fed has stepped up buying of MBS last month and that helped with liquidity.

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

According to the MBA, purchase activity is down 31% year-over-year.

Purchase activity has fallen sharply.

Note: Red is a four-week average (blue is weekly).