Mortgage Applications Decrease in March 24th MBA Weekly Survey

Mortgage applications decreased 2.5 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 19, 2021.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and was 13 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 26 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“The 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased to 3.36 percent last week and has now risen 50 basis points since the beginning of the year, in turn shutting off refinance incentives for many borrowers. Refinance activity dropped to its slowest pace since September 2020, with declines in both conventional and government applications. Mortgage rates have moved higher in tandem with Treasury yields, as the outlook for the U.S. economy continues to improve amidst the faster vaccine rollout and states easing pandemic-related restrictions,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Purchase applications were strong over the week, driven both by households seeking more living space and younger households looking to enter homeownership. The purchase index increased for the fourth consecutive week and was up 26 percent from last year’s pace. The average purchase loan balance increased again, both by quickening home-price growth and a rise in higher-balance conventional applications.”

Added Kan, “Inadequate housing inventory continues to put upward pressure on home prices. As both home-price growth and mortgage rates continue this upward trend, we may see affordability challenges become more severe if new and existing supply does not significantly pick up.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 60.9 percent of total applications from 62.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3.2 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications remained unchanged from 11.7 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 9.8 percent from 10.3 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 ($548,250 or less) increased to 3.36 percent from 3.28 percent, with points increasing to 0.42 from  0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent 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 $548,250) increased to 3.40 percent from 3.34 percent, with points increasing to 0.43 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.35 percent from 3.25 percent, with points increasing to 0.41 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 2.72 percent from 2.67 percent, with points increasing to 0.40 from 0.37 (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 2.79 percent from 2.82 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

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.

Contact:

Adam DeSanctis – Media Contact – adesanctis@mba.org – (202) 557-2727

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association