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MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease over Two-Week Period

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From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Decreased Over a Two-Week Period in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications decreased 2.7 percent from two weeks earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 31, 2021. The results include adjustments to account for the holidays.

… The holiday adjusted Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the two weeks ago and was 40 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent from two weeks earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 32 percent compared with the two weeks ago and was 12 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates continued to creep higher over the past two weeks, as markets maintained an optimistic view of the economy. The 30-year fixed rate increased 6 basis points to 3.33 percent – the highest since April 2021. The higher rates to close 2021 caused refinance activity to decrease 2.2 percent. Refinance demand continues to dwindle, as many borrowers refinanced in 2020, and in early 2021 – when mortgage rates were around 40 basis points lower,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The purchase market also finished the year on a slower note, with the final week coming in at the weakest since October 2021. Even though average loan sizes were lower, home price appreciation remains at very high levels.”

Added Kan, “Despite supply and affordability challenges, 2021 was a record year for purchase originations. MBA expects 2022 to be even stronger, with total purchase activity reaching $1.74 trillion.”

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) increased to 3.33 percent from 3.31 percent, with points increasing to 0.48 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
emphasis addedClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the refinance index since 1990.

With relatively low rates, the index remains slightly elevated, but down sharply from last year.

The second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index

According to the MBA, purchase activity is down 12% year-over-year unadjusted.

Note: Red is a four-week average (blue is weekly).

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