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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Weaken
by Tom Moeller  November 17, 2021

• Purchase loans improve but refinancings fall.

• 30-year mortgage rate edges up.

• Purchase loan size increases further.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Loan Applications Index fell 2.8% (-23.0% y/y) in the week ended November 12, following a 5.5% increase during the prior week. Mortgage applications for purchase rose 1.5% (-7.0% y/y) following a 2.7% increase in the prior week. Applications for refinancing slumped 5.1% (-30.9% y/y) after rising 7.4% in the prior week.

The share of applications for refinancing fell to 62.9% in the week ended November 12 from 63.5% in the prior week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity rose slightly to 3.20% from 3.10% the week prior.

The effective interest rate on a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.33% last week from 3.26% in the prior week. The effective rate on a 15-year rate mortgage rose to 2.65% in the week ended November 12 from 2.60% in the prior week. The effective rate for a 30-year Jumbo mortgage loan was little changed at 3.37% versus 3.35% in the prior week, while the rate on a 5-year adjustable-rate loan of 2.95% compared to 2.91% in the prior week. The last two series date back only to January 2011, while the others begin in January 1990.

Applications for fixed-rate loans fell 2.8% (-24.0% y/y) in the week ended November 12, after a 5.5% increase in the prior week. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages declined 1.9% (+27.4% y/y) following a 4.7% increase.

The average size of mortgage loans of $344,100 in the week ending November 12 compared to $339,900 in the week prior. The average size of loans for purchase eased to $406,500 from $409,400 in the previous week. The average size of refinanced loans rose to $307,200 from $300,000 in the prior week.

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) 11/12/21 11/05/21 10/29/21 Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
Total Market Index -2.8 5.5 -3.3 -23.0 63.0 32.4 -10.4
  Purchase 1.5 2.7 -1.6 -7.0 11.4 6.6 2.1
  Refinancing -5.1 7.4 -4.3 -30.9 111.0 71.1 -24.3
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 3.33 3.26 3.34 3.05

(Nov '20)

3.40 4.34 4.94
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