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Mortgage Applications Down 10.1 Percent

Phil Hall
Sep 25, 2019
Photo credit: Getty Images/Jeff Manes

As summer came to a conclusion, fewer people were taking out mortgage applications, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) for the week ending Sept. 20.
The Market Composite Index was down by 10.1 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis from one week earlier, while the unadjusted index fell by 11 percent. The seasonally-adjusted Purchase Index was three percent lower than from one week earlier and the unadjusted index was down by four percent–although the latter was also nine percent higher than the same week one year ago. The Refinance Index decreased 15 percent from the previous week, although it was also 104 percent higher than the same week one year ago, and the refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 54.9 percent of total applications from 57.9 percent the previous week.
Among the federal programs, the FHA share of total applications increased to 11.4 percent from 10.9 percent the week prior and the VA share of total applications increased to 13.1 percent from 12.7 percent, while the USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.6 percent.
“U.S. Treasury yields trended downward over the course of last week, as the Federal Reserve meeting highlighted the elevated uncertainty in the economic outlook,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “However, despite falling yields, mortgage rates ticked up again and have risen 20 basis points over the past two weeks. The increase in rates led to fewer refinances, and activity has now dropped 17 percent over the last two weeks. Purchase applications also decreased, likely related to the two-week jump in rates, but still remained nine percent higher than last year. The recent data on increased existing-home sales and new residential construction points to the underlying strength in the purchase market this fall.”

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