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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Weaken
by Tom Moeller  April 6, 2022

• Decline in purchase applications accelerates.

• Sharp decline in refinancing applications continues.

• Mortgage interest rates continue to increase.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Loan Applications Index fell 6.3% (-42.5% y/y) in the week ending April 1 after the previous week's 6.8% drop. Applications to purchase a home fell 3.4% (-9.0% y/y) following a 0.6% rise. Loan refinancing applications fell 9.9% (-62.0% y/y) after a 14.9% decline in the previous week.

The share of applications for refinancing declined to 38.8% last week from 40.6% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity in the latest week rose to 6.8% from 6.6% in the previous week.

Mortgage interest rates in the week of April 1 increased to 5.06% for 30-year fixed-rate loans from 4.96% in the previous week. It remained the highest rate since December 2018, up from a 2.95% low in December 2020. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage rose to 4.25% last week from 4.15% in the week prior. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year mortgage rose to 4.61% from 4.53%. The rate on a 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 3.99% from 3.90%.

Applications for fixed-rate loans declined 6.4% (-44.4% y/y) in the week ended April 1 following a 7.0% fall in the prior week. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages fell 4.1% (+5.3% y/y) after falling 3.7% in the previous week.

The average size of a mortgage loan edged 0.3% higher (20.6% y/y) last week to $389,200. The average size of a loan for purchase eased 0.1% (+13.3% y/y) to $452,600. The average size of a refinanced loan declined 1.2% (+6.3% y/y) to $289,300.

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) 04/01/22 03/25/22 03/18/22 Y/Y 2021 2020 2019
Total Market Index -6.3 -6.8 -8.1 -42.5 -8.0 63.0 32.4
  Purchase -3.4 0.6 -1.5 -9.0 -2.3 11.4 6.6
  Refinancing -9.9 -14.9 -14.4 -62.0 -10.7 111.0 71.1
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 5.06 4.96 4.68 3.34

(Apr. '21)

3.25 3.40 4.34
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