Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

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Adam DeSanctis
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 23, 2020)Mortgage applications increased 6.8 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 18, 2020. The previous week's results included an adjustment for the Labor Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 6.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 18 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 9 percent from the previous week and was 86 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 13 percent compared with the previous week and was 25 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

"Mortgage applications activity remained strong last week, even as the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to their highest levels since late August. Purchase applications were up over 25 percent from a year ago, and the demand for higher-balance loans pushed the average purchase loan size to another record high. The strong interest in homebuying observed this summer has carried over to the fall," said Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "Despite the uptick in rates, refinance applications increased around 9 percent and were almost 86 percent higher than last year. Both conventional and government refinance activity, and in particular FHA refinances, picked up last week."

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 64.3 percent of total applications from 62.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 2.2 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.1 percent from 9.7 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.0 percent from 12.3 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.6 percent 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) increased to 3.10 percent from 3.07 percent, with points increasing to 0.46 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 $510,400) decreased to 3.35 percent from 3.41 percent, with points increasing to 0.42 from 0.27 (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 3.23 percent from 3.16 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 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 increased to 2.64 percent from 2.61 percent, with points increasing to 0.47 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.19 percent from 3.20 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, 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.