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Wednesday, January 03, 2024

MBA: Mortgage Applications Decreased Over a Two-Week Period in Latest Weekly Survey

by Calculated Risk on 1/03/2024 07:00:00 AM

From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Decreased Over a Two-Week Period in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

Mortgage applications decreased 9.4 percent from two weeks earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 29, 2023. The results include adjustments to account for the holidays.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 9.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from two weeks earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 38 percent compared with two weeks ago. The unadjusted Refinance Index decreased 43 percent from two weeks ago and was 15 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 5 percent compared with two weeks ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 34 percent compared with two weeks ago and was 12 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Markets continued to digest the impact of slowing inflation and potential rate cuts from the Federal Reserve, helping mortgage rates to stay at levels close to the lowest since mid-2023. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate edged higher last week and ended 2023 at 6.76 percent, over a percentage point lower than its recent peak of 7.9 percent in October 2023,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “The recent decline in rates has given the housing market some cause for optimism going into 2024, but purchase applications have not yet picked up in response, with the overall level of purchase activity 12 percent lower than a year ago. Refinance applications were still at very low levels, but were 15 percent higher than a year ago.”

Added Kan, “The housing market has been hampered by a limited supply of homes for sale, but the recent strength in new residential construction will continue to help ease inventory shortages in the months in come.”
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) increased to 6.76 percent from 6.71 percent, with points increasing to 0.61 from 0.55 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
emphasis added
Mortgage Purchase IndexClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index.

According to the MBA, purchase activity is down 12% year-over-year unadjusted.  

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

Purchase application activity is up from the lows in late October and early November, but still below the lowest levels during the housing bust.

Mortgage Refinance Index
The second graph shows the refinance index since 1990.

With higher mortgage rates, the refinance index declined sharply in 2022, and even with some recent minor increases, activity is barely off the bottom.