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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Edged Up Across Most Markets
by Kathleen Stephansen, CBE  October 13, 2021

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Loan Applications Index rose 0.2% (-14.1% y/y) in the week ended October 8, following a decline of 6.9% (-14.9% y/y) in the week ended October 1. Mortgage applications for purchase rose 1.5% (-10.1% y/y) following a decline of 1.7% (-12.8% y/y) the week prior. Applications for refinancing fell 0.5% (-16.3% y/y) after a 9.6% fall (-16.1% y/y) the week prior.

The share of applications for refinancing edged down to 63.9% in the week of October 8 from 64.5% the week before. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity held at 3.4% from 2.5% early last month.

The effective interest rate on a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.29% in the week ended October 8. It was the highest level since late June. The effective 15-year rate rose to 2.56% from 2.51% the prior week. The effective rate for a 30-year Jumbo mortgage loan was 3.30%, up from 3.28% the prior week, while the rate on a 5-year adjustable-rate loan jumped to 3.17% from 2.59% in the week ending October 1. These last series date back only to January 2011, while the others begin in January 1990.

Applications for fixed-rate loans rose 0.3% (-15.3%) in the week ended October 8, after a 6.9% fall (-16.0% y/y) in the week ended October 1. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages edged down 0.4% (+45.7% y/y) following a decline of 6.9% (+32.3% y/y) the prior week.

The average size of mortgage loans was $341,400 in the week of October 8, up from $338,900 the week prior. The size of loans for purchase was $409,400 last week slightly down from $410,500 the week before. The average size of refinance loans rose to $303,100 up from $299,400 the week of October 1.

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) 10/08/21 10/01/21 09/24/21 Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
Total Market Index 0.2 -6.9 -1.1 -14.1 63.0 32.4 -10.4
  Purchase 1.5 -1.7 -1.2 -10.1 11.4 6.6 2.1
  Refinancing -0.5 -9.6 -0.9 -16.3 111.0 71.1 -24.3
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 3.29 3.24 3.20 3.11

(Oct '20)

3.40 4.34 4.94
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