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Mortgage Refi Index Is 98 Percent Higher YoY

Navi Persaud
Nov 18, 2020
Tiny red house blocks on a desk.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Application Survey reported a slight 0.3% decrease in total applications from the previous week, however, mortgage refinance activity is continuing to hold strong far into the fall season.

According to the survey, the Refinance Index slipped 2%, however, it remains 98% higher than the same week in 2019. Additionally, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 4% and was 26% higher than the same week last year.

"Mortgage market activity was mixed last week, despite the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage staying below 3%. The purchase market recovered from its recent weekly slump, with activity increasing 3% and climbing above year-ago levels for the 26th straight week. Housing demand remains supported by the ongoing recovery in the job market, and an increased appetite from households seeking more space because of the pandemic," said Joel Kan, MBA's associate vice president of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "The refinance index decreased last week - driven by sharp declines in FHA and VA applications - but remained a robust 98% above a year ago. The average refinance loan balance of $291,000 last week was the lowest since January. Many borrowers with higher loan balances may have acted earlier on in the current refinance wave."

The refinance share of mortgage activity dipped from 70% to 69.8%, the adjustable-rate mortgage share decreased to1.9%, the FHA share decreased to 10.5%, the VA share decreased to 12.1% and the USDA share increased to 0.5%, according to the survey.

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