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MBA: Mortgage Purchase Applications Increased in Weekly Survey


by Calculated Risk on 3/15/2023 07:00:00 AM

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

Mortgage applications increased 6.5 percent from one
week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage
Applications Survey for the week ending March 10, 2023.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 6.5 percent on
a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 7
percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 5 percent from the previous
week and was 74 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase
Index increased 7 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 8 percent
compared with the previous week and was 38 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Treasury yields declined late last week, as market concerns over bank closures and the potential for
broader ripple effects triggered a flight to safety in Treasury bonds. This decline pushed mortgage rates
for all loan types lower, with the 30-year fixed rate decreasing to 6.71 percent,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice
President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Home-purchase applications increased for the second straight
week but remained almost 40 percent below last year’s pace. While lower rates should buoy housing
demand, the financial market volatility may cause buyers to pause their decisions.”

Added Kan, “Refinance activity remained more than 70 percent behind last year’s level, as rates are still
more than two percentage points higher than a year ago. The dip in rates did bring some borrowers back
as evidenced by the 5 percent increase in refinance applications last week.”
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances
($726,200 or less) decreased to 6.71 percent from 6.79 percent, with points decreasing to 0.79 from 0.80
(including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
emphasis added

Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the refinance index since 1990.

With higher mortgage rates, the refinance index declined sharply in 2022.
Other than the lows recent in Q4 of 2022 and earlier this year, the refinance index was at the lowest level since the year 2000.
The second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index.

According to the MBA, purchase activity is down 38% year-over-year unadjusted.
Red is a four-week average (blue is weekly).

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