Wednesday, April 01, 2020

MBA: Mortgage Refinance Applications Increased, Purchase Applications down 24% YoY

by Calculated Risk on 4/01/2020 07:00:00 AM

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

Mortgage applications increased 15.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 27, 2020.

... The Refinance Index increased 26 percent from the previous week and was 168 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 11 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 10 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
...
“Mortgage rates and applications continue to experience significant volatility from the economic and financial market uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis. After two weeks of sizeable increases, mortgage rates dropped back to the lowest level in MBA’s survey, which in turn led to a 25 percent jump in refinance applications,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The bleaker economic outlook, along with the first wave of realized job losses reported in last week’s unemployment claims numbers, likely caused potential homebuyers to pull back. Purchase applications were down over 10 percent, and after double-digit annual growth to start 2020, activity has fallen off last year’s pace for two straight weeks.”

Added Kan, “Buyer and seller traffic – and ultimately home purchases – will also likely be slowed this spring by the restrictions ordered in several states on in-person activities.”
...
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) decreased to 3.47 percent from 3.82 percent, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.35 (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 record lower rates, we saw a huge increase in refinance activity in the survey over the last two weeks.

Note the Fed has stepped up buying of MBS the previous week.

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

According to the MBA, purchase activity is DOWN 24% year-over-year.

It appears purchase activity is falling sharply.