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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Loan Applications Rebound as Rates Ease Again
by Tom Moeller  September 9, 2020

• Applications for both purchase and refinancings increase.

• Mortgage rates approach record low.

The Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Loan Applications Index increased 2.9% (36.3% y/y) in the week ended September 4, following three straight weeks of decline.

The 30-year fixed rate interest rate eased to 3.17% and was just above its recent low reached in the week of August 7. The rate on 15-year loans fell to a record low 2.71%. The effective rate for a Jumbo mortgage loan fell to 3.49%. The rate on the 5-year adjustable rate mortgage declined to 3.20%

Applications for purchase loans rose 2.6% (25.3% y/y) last week after edging 0.2% lower in the previous week. Refinancing applications rebounded 3.0% (43.6% y/y) after a 3.1% drop in the previous week.

The average mortgage loan size fell 0.9% (-4.3% y/y) to $323,200. The average size of a purchase loan edged 0.2% higher (13.4% y/y) to $368,600 while the average loan size to refinance fell 1.5% (-14.3% y/y) to $296,600.

Applications for fixed-rate loans rose 41.1% y/y, while applications for adjustable rate mortgages declined 45.1% y/y.

The 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. The base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100. The figures for weekly mortgage applications and interest rates are available in Haver's SURVEYW database.

MBA Mortgage Applications (%, SA) 09/04/20 08/28/20 08/21/20 Y/Y 2019 2018 2017
Total Market Index 2.9 -2.0 -6.5 36.3 32.4 -10.4 -17.8
  Purchase 2.6 -0.2 0.4 25.3 6.6 2.1 5.6
  Refinancing 3.0 -3.1 -10.2 43.6 71.1 -24.3 -34.0
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 3.17 3.19 3.22

4.03
(Aug '19)

4.34 4.94 4.32
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