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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Rebounded Strongly in Early November
by Kathleen Stephansen, CBE  November 10, 2021

• Purchase and refinancing loan applications rebounded.

• 30-year mortgage rates declined.

• Purchase loan size continues to rise.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Loan Applications Index rebounded 5.5% (-21.1% y/y) in the week ended November 5, following a drop of 3.3% (-25.6% y/y) in the week ended October 29. Mortgage applications for purchase rose 2.7% (-5.1% y/y), following a 1.6% decline (-10.0% y/y) the week prior. Applications for refinancing jumped 7.4% (-28.5% y/y), after a 4.3% drop (-33.0% y/y) in the week ended October 29.

The share of applications for refinancing rose 63.5% in the week ended November 5, from 61.9% in the week of October 29. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity edged down to 3.10% from 3.20% the week prior.

The effective interest rate on a 30-year mortgage declined to 3.26% in the week of November 5 from 3.34% in the week ended October 29. The effective interest rate on a 30-year mortgage in both weeks ending October 21 and 29 had reached its highest level since the first week in April. The effective 15-year rate edged down to 2.60% in the week ended November 5, from 2.65% the prior week. The effective rate for a 30-year Jumbo mortgage loan was 3.35%, down from 3.37% the prior week, while the rate on a 5-year adjustable-rate loan edged down to 2.91% from 2.92% in the week ending October 29. These last series date back only to January 2011, while the others begin in January 1990.

Applications for fixed-rate loans rebounded 5.5% (-22.0% y/y) in the week ended November 5, after a 3.3% drop (-26.4%) in the week ended October 29. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages jumped 4.7% (+23.5% y/y), following a decline of 2.5% (+12.1% y/y), breaking the string of five straight weekly declines.

The average size of mortgage loans was $339,900 in the week ending November 5, up from $335,900 in the week of October 29. The size of loans for purchase was $409,400, up from $407,600 the week before. The average size of refinance loans rose to $300,000 in the week of November 5, up from $291,700 in the week ending October 29.

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) 11/05/21 10/29/21 10/22/21 Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
Total Market Index 5.5 -3.3 0.3 -21.1 63.0 32.4 -10.4
  Purchase 2.7 -1.6 3.5 -5.1 11.4 6.6 2.1
  Refinancing 7.4 -4.3 -1.6 -28.5 111.0 71.1 -24.3
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 3.26 3.34 3.40 3.05

(Nov '20)

3.40 4.34 4.94
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