Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

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Adam DeSanctis
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 18, 2021)Mortgage applications decreased 3.9 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 13, 2021. 

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 4 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and was 8 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 19 percent lower than the same week one year ago.  

"Mortgage rates were at their highest levels in around a month, with the 30-year fixed rate increasing above 3 percent to 3.06 percent. Mortgage rates followed an overall increase in Treasury yields last week, which started higher from the strong July jobs report before slowing because of weaker consumer sentiment and concerns about rising COVID-19 cases," said Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "The increase in mortgage rates caused a 5 percent decrease in refinancing, driven by a 7 percent drop in conventional refinance applications. Even though rates are 7 basis points lower than the same week a year ago, the refinance index is around 8 percent lower. The eligible pool of homeowners who stand to benefit from a refinance is smaller now."  

Added Kan, "Purchase applications also saw a mixed results, with conventional purchase applications down and government purchases up. Government purchase loans, such as FHA loans, are typically popular with first-time buyers. Despite a second-straight weekly decrease, average loan sizes remain close to record highs. This is a continuing sign that sales prices are still elevated, driven by stiff competition leading to accelerating home-price growth."

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 67.3 percent of total applications from 68.0 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained unchanged at 3.2 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 9.4 percent from 8.9 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 10.3 percent from 9.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.4 percent from 0.5 percent the week prior.  

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) increased to 3.06 percent from 2.99 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from  0.30 (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 $548,250) increased to 3.19 percent from 3.15 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.29 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.  

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.15 percent from 3.06 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.27 (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 2.41 percent from 2.35 percent, with points increasing to 0.28 from 0.25 (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 increased to 2.90 percent from 2.52 percent, with points increasing to 0.23 from 0.15 (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.