Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

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Adam DeSanctis
adesanctis@mba.org
(202) 557-2727

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 11, 2019)Mortgage applications increased 3.8 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 6, 2019. The results for the week ending November 29, 2019 included an adjustment for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 3.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 47 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 9 percent from the previous week and was 146 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.4 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 35 percent compared with the previous week and was 5 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

"Low mortgage rates continue to be the trend as 2019 comes to an end, and mortgage applications responded accordingly last week, rising 3.8 percent. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate remained under 4 percent for the fourth straight week, and rates for FHA loans declined close to their lowest level of the year. The decrease in FHA rates led to a 27 percent jump in refinance applications for those loans, and their share of refinance activity - at 14 percent - was the highest since 2016," said Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "Purchase applications were down slightly, but were 5 percent higher than a year ago, which is in line with the gradual growth in the purchase market seen throughout this year."

Added Kan, "The November jobs data showed increased payroll gains and low unemployment, which means conditions remain favorable for steady purchase growth in the coming months."

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 62.4 percent of total applications from 59.0 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.0 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 13.9 percent from 12.0 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.4 percent from 12.7 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.5 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased to 3.98 percent from 3.97 percent, with points increasing to 0.33 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater
than $484,350) decreased to 3.90 percent from 3.91 percent, with points increasing to 0.27 from 0.26 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.79 percent from 3.83 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 3.37 percent, with points increasing to 0.30 from 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.52 percent from 3.28 percent, with points decreasing to 0.24 from 0.27 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

Please Note:
MBA Offices will be closed Tuesday, December 24, 2019 and will reopen on Thursday, January 2, 2020. Due to the holiday, the results for the week ending December 20, 2019 will be released on December 26, 2019. Results for weeks ending December 27, 2019 and January 3, 2020 will be released on January 8, 2020.

If you would like to purchase a subscription of MBA's Weekly Applications Survey, please visit www.mba.org/WeeklyApps, contact mbaresearch@mba.org or click here.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.