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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Continued to Fall
by Sandy Batten  September 7, 2022

• Total applications fell for the eighth time in the past 10 weeks.

• Refinancing applications were down 83% from a year ago.

• All mortgage interest rates increased by double-digit basis points.

Mortgage applications dropped 0.8% w/w (-63.4% y/y) in the week of September 2, following a 3.7% w/w decline in the prior week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, as renewed increases in mortgage interest rates took their toll. This was the eighth weekly decline in applications in the past 10 weeks to the lowest level since December 1999. Purchase applications declined 0.7% w/w (-23.5% y/y) in the September 2 week while applications for refinancing fell 1.1% w/w (-83.1% y/y).

The share of applications for refinancing an existing loan edged up to 30.7% in the week ended September 2 from 30.3% in the previous week. The percentage of applications that were ARMs was unchanged at 8.5%.

Applications for fixed-rate loans declined 0.8% w/w in the September 2 week after a 5.8% w/w fall in the previous week. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages slipped 0.7% w/w following a 26.1% surge in the prior week.

The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan jumped up 16bps to 6.17% in the week ended September 2, its second highest level since November 2008. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 13bps to 5.44%, its highest also since November 2008. The rate on 30-year Jumbo loan increased 11bps to 5.57% while the rate on the 5-year ARM rose 13bps to 5.14%.

The average loan size edged down 0.4% w/w to rose to $367,600 in the week of September 2. The series high of $401,900 was reached in the week ended May 6. The average size of a purchase loan rose 0.5% w/w to $411,300. The average refinancing loan size fell 2.6% w/w to $269,300 in the September 2 week.

The Mortgage Bankers Survey covers 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.

These figures for weekly mortgage applications and interest rates are available in Haver's SURVEYS database.

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