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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Rebounded
by Sandy Batten  February 2, 2022

• Total applications rebounded with largest weekly gain since July 2021.

• Led by 18.4% w/w jump in refinancing, following four consecutive weekly declines.

• 30-year mortgage interest rate rose further to highest since March 2020.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Loan Applications Index rebounded in the week ended January 28, rising 12.0% w/w (-37.0% y/y) and more than making up for the 7.1% weekly decline in the previous week. The rebound was led by an 18.4% w/w (-50.4% y/y) jump in loans to refinance following four consecutive weekly declines. With mortgage interest rates continuing to rise, borrowers are likely attempting to secure a refinance loan before rates go even higher. Purchase applications increased 4.0% w/w (-6.7% y/y) after having fallen 1.8% w/w in the previous week.

The share of applications for refinancing increased to 57.3% in the week ended January 28 from 55.8% in the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity edged up to 4.5%, the highest since the week of March 20, 2020, from 4.4% in the prior week.

The effective interest rate on a 30-year mortgage rose for the sixth consecutive week to 3.89% in the week ended January 28, its highest since the week of March 20, 2020, from 3.85% in the previous week. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage edged up one basis point to 3.11% and the rate on a Jumbo 30-year mortgage rose two basis points to 3.68% in the previous week. The interest rate on a 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell 8 basis points to 3.22%.

Applications for fixed-rate loans increased 11.8% w/w (-38.5% y/y), more than reversing a 7.6% w/w decline in the previous week. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages jumped 14.6% w/w (+29.6% y/y) on top of a 7.2% w/w weekly gain in the previous week. ARM applications are up 53.6% over the past three weeks.

The average size of a mortgage loan roe 0.7% w/w (10.0% y/y) to $365,300 in the week ended January 28 from $362,700 in the previous week. The average size of a loan for purchase rose 1.8% w/w (+10.7% y/y) to a new record $441,100 on top of a 3.6% jump in the previous week. The average size of a refinanced loan gained 0.7% w/w (+1.0% y/y) to $308,700 in the most recent week from $306,700 in the previous 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) 01/28/22 01/21/22 01/14/22 Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
Total Market Index 12.0 -7.1 2.3 -37.0 -8.0 63.0 32.4
  Purchase 4.0 -1.8 7.9 -6.7 -2.3 11.4 6.6
  Refinancing 18.4 -12.6 -3.1 -50.4 -10.7 111.0 71.1
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 3.89 3.85 3.77 3.00

(Jan. '21)

3.25 3.40 4.34
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