Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

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Adam DeSanctis
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 28, 2020)Mortgage applications increased 1.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 23, 2020.   

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 1.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 3 percent from the previous week and was 80 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.3 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent higher than the same week one year ago.   

"Mortgage applications to buy a home were flat compared to the prior week, but overall activity remains strong this fall. Applications jumped 24 percent compared to last year, and the average loan size reached another record high at $372,600. These results highlight just how strong the upper end of the market is right now, with outsized growth rates in the higher loan size categories. Furthermore, housing inventory shortages have pushed national home prices considerably higher on an annual basis," said Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "Refinance activity has been somewhat volatile over the past few months but did increase almost 3 percent last week. With the 30-year fixed rate at MBA's all-time survey low of 3.00 percent, conventional refinances rose 5 percent. However, the government refinance index decreased for the first time in a month, driven by a slowdown in VA refinance activity."    

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 66.7 percent of total applications from 66.1 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 2.1 percent of total applications.   

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 11.7 percent from 11.8 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.4 percent from 12.6 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 ($510,400 or less) decreased to 3.00 percent from 3.02 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 from  0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.  

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $510,400) decreased to 3.28 percent from 3.33 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.30 (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 increased to 3.14 percent from 3.12 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.35 (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 2.60 percent from 2.61 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.31 (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 3.05 percent from 2.86 percent, with points increasing to 0.64 from 0.58 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.  

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

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.