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Mortgage applications up despite coronavirus.


WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 15, 2020)Mortgage applications increased 7.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 10, 2020.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 7.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 7 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 10 percent from the previous week and was 192 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 35 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

"The 30-year fixed mortgage rate decreased last week to the lowest level in MBA's survey at 3.45 percent. The decline in rates - despite Treasury yields rising - is a sign that the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market is stabilizing and lenders are successfully working through their lending pipelines," said Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "Refinance activity has experienced a volatile four-week period, but did increase 10 percent last week. Refinancing will continue to be beneficial for the many borrowers able to lower their monthly payments during this time of economic distress."

Added Kan, "Purchase applications decreased less than 2 percent last week - the fifth straight weekly decline. Compared to the first week of March, the purchase index was down around 35 percent, as the economic downturn and nationwide mitigation practices to slow the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted the spring homebuying season. The purchase market is still expected to rebound, as long as the public health measures to reduce the pandemic's spread are successful and result in a broader recovery."

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 76.2 percent of total applications from 74.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 2.7 percent of total applications.

Looking at the impact at the state level, here are results showing the non-seasonally adjusted, week-over-week percent change in the number of purchase applications from Washington, California and New York:

he FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.5 percent from 10.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications remained unchanged from 14.3 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.4 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 3.45 percent from 3.49 percent, with points increasing to 0.29 from 0.28 (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 3.80 percent from 3.87 percent, with points decreasing to 0.23 from 0.26 (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 decreased to 3.45 percent from 3.54 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.19 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 3.04 percent, with points increasing to 0.27 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 decreased to 3.34 percent from 3.39 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from -0.02 (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.

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