Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

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Adam DeSanctis
adesanctis@mba.org
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 26, 2019)Mortgage applications decreased 5.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 20, 2019. 



The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 5.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 6 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and was 128 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 5 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 7 percent compared with the previous week and was 5 percent higher than the same week one year ago. 

"The 10-Year Treasury yield increased last week amid signs of stronger homebuilding activity and solid consumer spending, leading to a rise in conventional conforming and jumbo 30-year mortgage rates to just under 4 percent. With this increase, conventional refinance application volume fell 11 percent," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. "Refinance applications for government loans did increase, even though rates on FHA loans picked up. The change in the mix of business has kept the average refinance loan size smaller than we had seen earlier this year." 

Added Fratantoni, "We are in the slowest time of the year for the purchase market. Purchase application activity declined after the seasonal adjustment, but still remains about 5 percent ahead of last year's pace. The increase in construction activity will bolster housing inventories, which should be a positive for purchase volumes going into 2020." 

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 62.6 percent of total applications from 62.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 4.1 percent of total applications. 

The FHA share of total applications increased to 14.5 percent from 13.7 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 15.2 percent from 12.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.5 percent from the week prior. 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased to 3.99 percent from 3.98 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.33 (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) increased to 3.97 percent from 3.96 percent, with points decreasing to 0.25 from 0.26
(including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week. 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.87 percent from 3.79 percent, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week. 

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.39 percent from 3.40 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.26 (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 3.38 percent from 3.28 percent, with points decreasing to 0.21 from 0.23 (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 next release, for the results for the 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.