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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Turn Upward After 7 Weekly Declines
by Carol Stone, CBE  May 4, 2022

• Total applications up 2.5%.

• Loans to purchase a house rise 4.1%, refinance loans manage 0.2% increase.

• Mortgage interest rates ease slightly.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Loan Applications Index rose 2.5% (-49.8% y/y) in the week ended April 29, the first weekly increase since the week ended March 4. The total number of applications had fallen 8.3% in the April 22 week. Applications for purchase rose 4.1% in the latest week, ended April 29 (-11.0% y/y) after falling 7.6% the April 22 week. Application for refinancing edged upward 0.2% in the April 29 week (-70.8% y/y), following a 9.0% w/w drop the week before.

The share of applications for refinancing decreased to 33.9% in the week ended April 29 from 35.0% in the April 22 week and down from 65.4% at the very end of 2021. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity in the April 29 held steady at 9.3% and up modestly from 8.5% in the April 15 week.

Mortgage interest rates paused their uptrend. The effective rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans was almost flat at 5.55% versus 5.56% in the April 22 week. Similarly, the effective rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans ticked down to 4.87% in the April 29 week from 4.88% the week before. The rate on a 5-year ARM also went down 1 basis point to average 4.54% in the latest week. A bit differently, the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan increased to 5.05% from 5.02%.

Applications for fixed-rate loans turned upward, rising 2.5% in the April 29 week (-52.6% y/y), their first increase since March 4 and following a 9.0% drop in the April 22 week. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages rose 2.6% (20.4% y/y) in the latest week after decreasing 0.3% the week before.

The average size of a mortgage loan edged down 0.3% in the April 29 week to $392,300 from the previous week’s $393,300. The average size of a loan for purchase was $448,100, down 0.2% from the April 22 week’s $449,100 while the average size of a refinanced loan was $283,600, down 2.1% from the prior week’s $289,700.

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) 04/29/22 04/22/22 04/15/22 Y/Y 2021 2020 2019
Total Market Index 2.5 -8.3 -5.0 -49.8 -8.0 63.0 32.4
  Purchase 4.1 -7.6 -3.0 -11.0 -2.3 11.4 6.6
  Refinancing 0.2 -9.0 -7.7 -70.8 -10.7 111.0 71.1
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 5.55 5.56 5.39 3.34

(Apr. '21)

3.25 3.40 4.34
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