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MBA: Mortgage Applications Declined In Weekly Survey

David Krechevsky
Mar 16, 2022
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Despite a small gain in purchase applications as mortgage rates fell, overall applications decline.

Despite a small gain in purchase applications, mortgage applications overall decreased 1.2% from a week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 11, 2022. 

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 1.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from a week earlier. Unadjusted, the index decreased 1% from the previous week. 

The Refinance Index also decreased, falling 3% from the previous week and 49% from the same week one year ago. 

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, meanwhile, increased 1% from a week earlier. Unadjusted, the Purchase Index increased 2% from the previous week, but was 8% lower than the same week last year.

"Mortgage rates continue to be volatile due to the significant uncertainty regarding Federal Reserve policy and the situation in Ukraine,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said. “Investors are weighing the impacts of rapidly increasing inflation in the U.S. and many other parts of the world against the potential for a slowdown in economic growth due to a renewed bout of supply-chain constraints."

Kan noted that, after falling two weeks ago, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased last week to 4.27% — the highest since May 2019. “Rates are now roughly a full percentage point higher than a year ago and continue to hamper refinance activity,” he said. “Refinances declined for both conventional and government loans."

He added, "Purchase applications slightly increased, with both conventional and VA loan applications seeing gains. The average purchase application loan size remained elevated at $453,200 - the second-highest amount in MBA's survey."  

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 48.4% of total applications from 49.5% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.6% of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications remained unchanged at 8.7% from the week prior. The VA share of total applications ticked up to 10.5% from 10.4%. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from the previous week at 0.5%.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) increased to 4.27% from 4.09%, with points increasing to 0.54 from 0.44 (including the origination fee) for 80% 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 $647,200) increased to 4.02% from 3.79%, with points decreasing to 0.37 from 0.39 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.55% from 3.39%, with points remaining unchanged at 0.46 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.  

The MBA’s weekly survey covers over 75% 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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