Chart of the Week

Source: MBA Weekly Applications Survey 

We saw a downward turn in mortgage rates in late 2018, which started when there was a flight to quality in response to concerns about a slowdown in the global economy and trade tensions between the U.S. and China. The drop in mortgage rates led to a revival in the refinance market in 2019. This week's chart shows the resulting increase in the average loan size for refinance applications, as well as the share of refinance applications broken down into loan size categories. 

The first significant drop in mortgage rates was in December 2018 - a decrease of 24 basis points (bps) to 4.9 percent, and as a result, the average refinance loan amount increased more than $20,000 to $284,000. More recently, the contract rate has slid to below 4 percent, and the average loan size has continued to rise, peaking at $358,700 in June, and averaging $334,000 year-to-date ($264,000 in 2018). As shown in the chart, the share of refinances in the higher loan size categories (loans over $300,000) have seen the most growth and now make up almost a third of refinances. Meanwhile, the lowest loan size tier was 36 percent of refinance applications last year but has dropped to 20 percent in 2019. 

Why is this happening? Borrowers with larger loan sizes are typically more sensitive to rate changes. Given the fixed costs of a refinance, homeowners with larger loans can realize larger dollar savings by refinancing. Furthermore, the jump is also due to the fact that tight credit standards on jumbo loans may have kept a number of homeowners from refinancing during prior waves of activity following the Great Recession.

- Joel Kan (

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October 2019 
10/18/19 Refinance Applications - Composition by Loan Size, Average Loan Size
10/11/19 Commercial/Multifamily Capitalization Rates  
10/4/19 Mortgage Applicant Usage of Technology - Application Process

September 2019

9/27/19 2018 HMDA Respondents and Share of Purchase and Refinance Volume
9/20/19 New Home Purchase Applications 
9/13/19 MBA Forecast of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations
9/6/19 Vintage Year HELOC Utilization Rates

August 2019
8/30/19 IMB Quarterly Pre-Tax Net Production Profits 2008-2019
8/23/19 Commercial Property Capitalization Rate
8/16/19 Composition of FHA Seriously Delinquent Loans by Origination Year 
8/9/19 Warehouse Lines for Loans Held for Sale Historical Usage Level
8/2/19 GDP, Inflation, and the Fed Funds Rate 

July 2019
7/26/2019 Cash Share, Home Sales and Purchase Mortgage Applications 
7/19/2019 Components of the Cost to Originate in the Retail Production Channel

7/12/2019 Treasury Yield Spreads
7/3/2019 In-House Mortgage Servicer Productivity

June 2019
6/28/2019 Monthly Productivity for the Retal Production Channel
6/21/2019 Housing Market Vacancy Rates 
6/14/2019 IMB Revenues and Expenses 
6/7/2019 MBA LIBOR Preparation Survey

May 2019
5/31/2019 FHFA Purchase Only House Price Index
5/24/2019 New Issue CMBS Spreads to Swaps 
5/17/2019 Mortgage Delinquencies By Loan Type 
5/10/2019 Mortgage Credit Availability Index
5/03/2019 Refinance Applications Trends (by loan size)

April 2019
4/26/2019 Estimates of Adjustable-and Fixed-Rate Commercial Real Estate Mortgage Debt Outstanding
4/19/2019 IMB Production Profits in 2019
4/12/2019 Top Mortgage REITs, Debt Funds and Other Investor Driven Lenders in 2018
4/5/2019 Top 10 Commercial & Multifamily Mortgage Originators in 201

March 2019
3/29/2019 IMB Production Profits and Volumes
3/22/2019 MBA CMF Market Uncertainty Bingo

3/15/19 Annual Change in Owner Occupied and Renter Households
3/8/2019 Ways that Borrowers Remit Their Mortgage Payments
3/1/2019 Low-to-Moderate Income Originations by Company Type

February 2019
2/22/19 Mortgage Delinquency Rate and Unemployment Rate Seasonally Adjusted, percent
2/15/19 Current Unpaid Principle Balance of Non-bank Commercial /multifamily Loans Maturing, by Year

2/8/2019 Applications for Home Purchase Loans
2/1/19 Measures of New Home Sales

January 2019
1/25/19 CMBS Annual Issuance Volume
1/18/19 Recent Originations and Forecast

1/11/19 Selected Wage Growth Measures
1/4/19 Treasury Yield Spreads

December 2018
12/21/18 Number of Owner and Renter Households
12/14/18 Homeowners Equity in Real Estate
12/7/18 Measures of CMBS and Bank Delinquency Rates

November 2018
11/30/18 IMB Loan Amounts
11/21/18 Thanksgiving Consumption Year over year price changes based on CPI
11/14/18 Mortgage Delinquency Rates in Texas and Florida, Pre‐ and Post‐Hurricane
11/9/18 Homeownership Rates By Age
11/2/18 Multifamily Lending in 2017, By Lender Average Loan Size

October 2018
10/26/18 Technology Spending Levels
10/19/18 MBA Annual
10/12/18 Builder Application Survey Index
10/5/18 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgages Intermediated to "Non-Traditional" Lenders

September 2018
9/28/18 Key Market Rates
9/21/18 Purchase Mortgage Applications Index 
9/14/18 Cumulative Change in Home Prices vs Months Supply of Existing Homes
9/7/18 Latest Commercial/Multifamily Deliqnuency Rates and Range Since 1996

August 2018
8/31/18 Percent of IMBs with Pre-Tax Net Income >0
8/24/18 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations, by Property Type
8/17/18 Mortgage Originations 2008 - 2018
8/10/18 Unemployment by Educational Attainment
8/3/18 Purchase Applications: CA, FL, TX and US

July 2018
7/27/18 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgages Intermediated to "Non-traditional" Lenders
7/20/18 Consumer Direct Channel: Net Production Income (basis points)
7/13/18 2017 IMB Product Profit by Geographic Region (Company HQ)
7/6/18 Refinance Index and 30-yr fixed rate

June 2018
6/29/18 Q1 Changes in C/MF Mortgage Debt Outstanding
6/22/18 Average Servicing Costs Per Loan
6/15/18 Share of New Home Purchase Applications (May)
6/8/18 IMB Production Profit and Volume
6/1/18 2017 Retail Production Expenses as % of Retail Production Revenues

May 2018
5/24/18 GSE Multifamily Activity, As Measured by MBA and the GSEs
5/18/18 Mortgage Delinquency Rates, By Loan Type
5/11/18 Construction & Finance Sector Job Openings and Wage Growth
5/4/18 Percent of IMBs with Pre‐Tax Net Income > 0 

April 2018
4/27/18 Commercial/Multifamily Originations by Property Type 2005-2017
4/20/18 Cash Out Refinance Activity
4/13/18 IMB Total Production Expenses per Loan
4/6/18 Top 10 Commercial & Multifamily Mortgage Originators in 2017

March 2018
3/30/18 Private Job Openings and Hires, Growth in Hourly Earnings
3/23/18 Flash Polling Survey of Community Banks and Credit Unions
3/16/18 Ten-Year Average Annual Change in Consumer Prices and Income (%) 
3/9/2018 Biggest Benefit from Offering Digital Mortgage
3/2/18 Year Over Year Change in Number of Home Purchase Applications

February 2018
2/23/18 US Homeowners' Equity ($T) and Home Equity Loans as Percent of Value
2/16/18 US 10-yr Treasury Yields and Dow Jones Industrial Index 
2/9/18 Conventional Conforming Fixed Rate 30 Year Mortgage Rates
2/2/18 CMBS Annual Issuance Volume and Average 10-year AAA Spread to Swaps

January 2018
1/26/18 Purchase Mortgage Applications Index
1/19/18 Actual and Tentative MBS Reinvestment Purchases
1/12/18 Census vs MBA NHS Estimates (NSA)
1/5/18 Monthly Payroll Growth

December 2017
12/22/17 FHFA Experimental Zip Code Level House Price Index for 60093
12/15/17 IMB Servicers: Media Unrestricted Cash and Cash Equivalents/Monthly Recurring Operating Expenses
12/8/17 Bank Multifamily Lending by Banks and Net Change in Bank Multifamily Mortgage Holding
12/1/17 FHFA Expanded-Data House Price Growth by Metro, 2017 Q3, Year over Year Percent Change

November 2017
11/14/17 Net Change in Households, by Structure Type and Tenure
11/3/17 2016 Share of Mortgages with Balances >$500k by State

October 2017
10/27/17 Mortgage Originations: 2011-2020
10/20/17 Multifamily Mortgage Lending, 2013-2016
10/13/17- Year over Year Change in Builder Applications Survey Index (%)
10/6/17- 2016 HMDA Respondents and Share of Purchase and Refinance Volume

September 2017

9/29/17- Distribution of Housing Types, Race and Ethnicity - Urban Areas and the U.S.
9/22/17- Assessment of Direction of Credit Underwriting Practices
9/15/7- State Purchase Application Indexes for FL and TX
9/8/17- Commercial/Multifamily Property Sales, Mortgage Bankers Originations and Non-bank Maturuties
9/1/17- Quarterly Pre-Tax Net Production Profits 2008-2017

August 2017
8/25/17- Loans in Foreclosure and New Foreclosures Started
8/18/17- Percent of FHA Purchase Loans, by DTI
8/11/17- Jumbo-Conforming 30 Year Fixed Mortgage Spread
8/4/17- Monthly Underwriter Productivity for the Retail Production Channel

July 2017
7/28/17 Year-over-Year Contributions to Commercial Property Price Changes
7/21/17 Servicing Costs Per Loan (Single-Family): Performing vs. Non-Performing
7/14/17 Hard to Fill Openings and Plans to Raise Compesnation
7/7/17 Large Banks: Production Volume Channel Mix (% based on $)

June 2017
6/30/17 Purchase Application Trends, by Loan Size
6/23/17 IMB Avg. Share of 1st Mortgage Volume that is Servicing Retained
6/16/17 US Treasuries and Agency MBS on Fed's Balance Sheet
6/9/17 IMB Production Profits and Volumes
6/2/17 Annual Change in Owner-Occupied and Renter Households

May 2017
5/26/17 House Price Appreciation and Employment
5/19/17 1998-2007 Vintage Conduit CMBS Balance, 60d+ including FC/REO and Delinquency Rate
5/12/17 Existing Home Sales, Inventory and Months Supply
5/5/17 Average Monthly Payroll Growth

April 2017
4/28/17 US Top Corporate and Income Tax Rates Over Time
4/21/17 Condo and Co-op Sales and Media Sales Prices
4/14/17 Agency Multifamily MBA and Total Private-Label CMBS Outstanding
4/7/17 Mortgage Credit Availability Index - Jumbo vs. Overall

March 2017
3/31/17 Federal Debt Held by the Public
3/24/17 ARM Loans as Share of All Applications
3/17/17 Housing Starts in 1-4 Unit and 5+ Unit Structures
3/10/17 Mortgage Credit Availability Index
3/3/17 UPB of Non-Bank Commercial Multifamily Mortgages, by Year of Maturity

February 2017
2/24/2017 CPI and Selected Components
2/17/17 Total Paste Due Rates, By Loan Type
2/10/2017 FHA Average Credit Scores on New Endorsements
2/3/17- 2017 MBA CREF Outlook Survey Results

January 2017
1/27/17 Federal Direct Student Loans in Repayment ($B), By Repayment Type
1/20/17- Distribution of Refinance Activity
1/13/17- History of FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums
1/6/17- Share of Servicing Loan Count by Institution Type

December 2016
12/22/16 Purchase Applications Around the Holidays
12/16/16 GNMA-FNMA Credit Swap Prices
12/9/16 IMB Production Employees and Non-Sales Employee Share
12/2/16 ARM Share

November 2016
11/23/16 Percentage of Loans in the Foreclosure Process
11/18/16 FHA Purchase Loan Count as Share of New and Existing Home Sales
11/10/16 10-Year Treasury Yield Following Election Night
11/4/16- Multifamily Lending by Investor Group

October 2016
10/28/16 Estimated Mortgage Originations: 1999-2019
10/21/16 CPI and its Motor Fuel Component
10/14/16 Largest Q2 Gains and Lossess in Commercial and Multifamily Mortgage Debt Outstanding

September 2016
9/30/16 Monthly Existing Home Sales 2014-2016
9/23/16 Purchase and Refinance Average Loan Sizes
9/16/16 FHFA Home Price Indexes
9/9/16 Latest Commercial/Multifamily Delinquency Rates and Range Since 1996
9/2/16 Pre-Tax Production Profit of IMBs

August 2016

June 2016
6/24/16 Monthly Underwriting Productivity
6/17/16 How Are US 10 Year Rates Impacted by Global Trends?
6/10/16 IMB Production Profit and Volume
6/3/16 Change in Outstanding Balance of Commercial and Multifamily Mortgage ($billions)

May 2016
5/27/16 Adult Population Mobility 1996-2015
5/20/16 The Cascade of Diverted and Dissolved Households: Actual and Expected Growth in Renters and Owners, 2006 to 2012 (Millions)
5/13/16 Year-to-Date Change in the Balance of Multifamily Mortgages on the Books of Commercial Banks ($billions)
5/6/16 Purchase Applications by Loan Size: Year over Year Changes

April 2016
4/29/16 Estimated Q1 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations 2002-2016 by Investor Group ($billions)
4/22/16 Unemployment Insurance: Initial Claims (SA, Thous.)
4/15/16 Purchase Application Index by Week of Year
4/8/16 Commercial and Multifamily Mortgage Originations by Capital Source ($billions)
4/1/16 Regression-Adjusted Age Profile of Memory Measures

March 2016
3/25/16 Refinance Applications and Average Loan Size
3/18/16 CMBS and Corporate Spreads to Swaps (bps)
3/11/16 Atlanta Fed Wage Growth Tracker
3/4/16 Annual Growth in Payroll Enrollment

February 2016
2/26/16 Cumulative STACR Debt Note and ACIS Transactions as of December 31, 2015
2/19/16 Oil States vs. U.S. Average: 2015 Foreclosure Starts Rate (NSA)
2/12/16 Ratio of Unemployed Workers Per Job Opening
2/5/16 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Originations

January 2016
1/29/16 Inflation Trends
1/22/16 Indexed Growth of Nonfarm Payroll Employment for "Oil" States
1/15/16 Changes in Population Age 25-44 and Single Family Starts
1/8/16 A Flattening U.S. Yield Curve

December 2015
12/23/15 Purchase Mortgage Applications and Existing Home Sales
12/18/15 Net Change in Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Debt Outstanding ($M)
12/11/15 Retail Closings per Proudction Employee per Month for IMBs
12/4/15  House Prices Relative to 2007-Q3  

November 2015
11/20/15 Loans In Foreclosure Process As a Percent of Loans Serviced
11/13/15 VA Purchase Loan Share and Loan Size
11/6/15 Builder Application Survey: Average Loan Size

October 2015
10/30/15 Total Multifamily Mortgage Originations by Investor Group
10/23/15 Mortgage Originations History and Forecast
10/16/15 Single Family Housing Starts and Builders Application Survey Forecast
10/9/15 FHA Share of Purchase Mortgage Originations
10/2/15 Total Multifamily Mortgage Debt Outstanding, By Selected Sector

September 2015
9/25/15 HMDA Respondents
9/18/15 Rates and Home Sales
9/11/15 Loan Size Distribution for MBA's Weekly Applications Survey
9/3/15 IMB Net Production Income and Purchase Share

August 2015
8/21/15 Multifamily and Other Commercial Mortgage Delinquency Rates Among Major Investors
8/14/15 Loans in Foreclosure, by State Legal Process
8/7/15 Mortgage Credit Availability Index June 2004 to Present

July 2015
7/31/15 Components of Direct Servicing Costs Per Loan
7/24/15 FHFA US Purchase-Only House Price Index (SA)
7/17/15 Year over Year Change in Builder Application Survey Index
7/10/15 Retail Mortgage Applications per Underwriter
7/2/15 Adjustable Rate Mortgage Share

June 2015
6/26/15 Existing Home Turnover
6/19/15 Aggregate Value of Owner-Occupied Housing
6/12/15 Comparison of 10 Year Bond Yields
6/5/15 Independent Mortgage Banker Production Expenses

May 2015
5/29/15 Change in Number of Households by Age, 2004-2014

5/22/15 Single Family Housing Starts by U.S. Region
5/15/15 History of Mortgage Performance
5/8/15 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Origination Index
5/1/15 Employment Cost Index - Compensation, Year Over Year Percent Change

April 2015
4/24/15 Purchase Application Trends, By Loan Size
4/17/15 Private Location of Western Mortgage Company Headquarters, 1890
4/10/15 Private Job Openings, Hires and Quits

4/3/15 Top 50 Apartment Owners and Top 5 Single-Family Rental Owners  

March 2015
3/27/15 MBA Builder Application Survey and New Housing Starts
3/20/15 GDP, Inflation, and the Fed Funds Rate  
3/13/15 Purchase Mortgage Application Loan Sizes and House Prices   

3/6/15 Number of Renter Households by Income and Level of Housing-Cost Burden  

February 2015
2/27/15 Serious Delinquency Rate by Cohort
2/20/15 Two Years of Interest Rates

2/13/15 Rate of Unemployment and Job Openings 
2/6/15 Commercial and Multifamily Property Prices and Mortgage Debt Outstanding

January 2015
1/30/15 Year-over-Year Percent Changes in U.S. Population and Households 
1/23/15 65 Years of Single-Family and Multifamily Housing Starts 
1/16/15 Refinance Index and 30-year Fixed Mortgage Rate 
1/9/15 History of FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums 

December 2014
12/17/14 Multifamily Mortgage Debt Outstanding 
12/12/14 Conventional Mortgage Credit Availability Index 
12/05/14 Independent Mortgage Bankers Production & Income 

November 2014
11/26/14 Who Will Own Mortgage Assets 
11/21/14 A Good Week for Housing
11/14/14 FHA and VA Share of Total Loan Applications

MBA's Think Tank

The Research Housing Institute for America (RIHA) is MBA's Think Tank. To learn more, visit the RIHA web site.