Wednesday, January 13, 2021

MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest Weekly Survey

by Calculated Risk on 1/13/2021 07:00:00 AM

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

Mortgage applications increased 16.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 8, 2021. The previous week’s results included an adjustment for the holidays.

... The Refinance Index increased 20 percent from the previous week and was 93 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 8 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 60 percent compared with the previous week and was 10 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Booming refinance activity in the first full week of 2021 caused mortgage applications to surge to their highest level since March 2020, despite most mortgage rates in the survey rising last week. The expectation of additional fiscal stimulus from the incoming administration, and the rollout of vaccines improving the outlook, drove Treasury yields and rates higher. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate climbed two basis points to 2.88 percent, but reversing the trend, the 15-year fixed rate ticked down to 2.39 percent – a record low,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Even with the rise in mortgage rates, refinancing did not slow to begin the year, with the index hitting its highest level since last March. Both conventional and government refinance applications increased, with applications for government loans having their strongest week since June 2012.”

Added Kan, “Sustained housing demand continued to support purchase growth, with activity up nearly 10 percent from a year ago. The lower average loan balance observed was partly due to a 9.2 percent increase in FHA applications, which is a positive sign of more lower-income and first-time buyers returning to the market.”
...
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) increased to 2.88 percent from 2.86 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.

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

But with record low rates, the index remains up significantly from last year.

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

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

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