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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Rebound
by Tom Moeller  June 16, 2021

• Refinancing applications recover prior week's decline.

• Purchase applications improve.

• Mortgage interest rates ease again.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Loan Applications Index increased 4.2% (-20.6% y/y) in the week ended June 11, following a 3.1% drop in the previous week. The rise came after three consecutive weekly declines. Applications for refinancing rose 5.5% (-22.2% y/y) and made up the prior week's decline. Applications to purchase a home improved 1.6% (-17.4% y/y) after edging 0.3% higher in the previous week.

The refinance share of mortgage activity rose to 61.7% of total applications in the week ended June 11, from 60.4% in the previous week. That share is down from 73.1% during all of December. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity eased w/w to 3.8% after rising to 3.9% in the previous week.

The effective interest rate on a 30-year mortgage eased two basis points to 3.22% but remained above its 2.95% low reached in December. The effective 15-year rate fell four basis points to 2.55%. The effective rate for a 30-year Jumbo mortgage declined to 3.34%, the lowest level since February. The rate on a five-year ARM increased to 2.83% but remained below the 4.61% high in October 2018.

The average mortgage loan size eased 0.1% (+3.8% y/y) to $337,800 in the June 11 week. The average size of a loan to purchase a house fell 1.7% (+13.0% y/y) to $400,000. The average size of a refinanced loan rose 2.2% (-3.1% y/y) to $299,200.

Applications for fixed-rate loans rose 4.3% (-21.4% y/y) after declining sharply in each of the prior three weeks. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages rose 1.1% (7.0% y/y) following a 2.5% gain.

This 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) 06/11/21 06/04/21 05/28/21 Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
Total Market Index 4.2 -3.1 -4.0 -20.6 63.0 32.4 -10.4
  Purchase 1.6 0.3 -3.1 -17.4 11.4 6.6 2.1
  Refinancing 5.5 -5.1 -4.6 -22.2 111.0 71.1 -24.3
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 3.22 3.24 3.29 3.41

(Jun '20)

3.40 4.34 4.94
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