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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Continue to Decline as Rates Rise
by Tom Moeller  April 20, 2022

• Refinancing falloff is pronounced.

• Purchase applications reverse earlier increase.

• Mortgage interest rates increase modestly w/w.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Loan Applications Index declined 5.0% (-48.4% y/y) in the week ended April 15, the sixth consecutive weekly decline. The decline was to the lowest level since the week ended February 8, 2019. Applications for refinancing declined 7.7% (-68.2% y/y) last week following a 4.9% weakening in the previous week. Applications for purchase fell 3.0% (-14.0% y/y) following a 1.4% gain in the prior week.

The share of applications for refinancing fell sharply to 35.7%, down from 76.5% early in March 2020. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity rose to 10.6% from 9.2% in the previous week.

The effective rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans increased to 5.39%, the highest level since April 2010. The effective rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans rose to 4.63%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan increased to 4.89% and the rate on a 5-year ARM was little-changed at 4.29%.

Applications for fixed-rate loans declined 6.1% (-51.0% y/y) in the week ended April 15 after falling 1.9% in the previous week. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages increased 9.1% (+21.2% y/y) following an 8.3% rise in the previous week.

The average size of a mortgage loan rose 1.0% (19.9% y/y) to a record $396,000. The average size of a loan for purchase edged up 0.2% (11.7% y/y) to $453,800. The average size of a refinanced loan gained 1.1% (4.3% y/y) to $291,500.

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 SURVEYS database.

MBA Mortgage Applications (%, SA) 04/15/22 04/08/22 04/01/22 Y/Y 2021 2020 2019
Total Market Index -5.0 -1.3 -6.3 -48.4 -8.0 63.0 32.4
  Purchase -3.0 1.4 -3.4 -14.0 -2.3 11.4 6.6
  Refinancing -7.7 -4.9 -9.9 -68.2 -10.7 111.0 71.1
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 5.39 5.31 5.06 3.34

(Apr. '21)

3.25 3.40 4.34
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