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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Rose in the Latest Week
by Kathleen Stephansen, CBE  September 21, 2022

• Total mortgage applications rose in the week of September 16.

• Applications for both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages posted strong weekly rises.

• The effective rate on all mortgage interest rates soared in the week of September 16.

Mortgage applications rose 3.8% w/w (-64.4% y/y) in the week of September 16, following a decline of 1.2% w/w (-64.0% y/y) in the week of September 9, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. This was the first weekly rise following five consecutive weekly declines in mortgage applications. Purchase applications rose 1.0% w/w (-29.5% y/y) after a 0.2% w/w (-28.7% y/y) rise in the September 9 week, while applications for refinancing jumped 10.4% w/w (-82.7% y/y) after a 4.2% w/w (-83.3% y/y) decline the prior week.

The share of applications for refinancing an existing loan rose to 32.5% in the week ended September 16, from 30.2% in the week ended September 9. The percentage of applications that were ARMs stood at 9.10%, unchanged from the week prior.

Applications for fixed-rate loans rose 3.7% w/w in the September 16 week, following a 1.8% w/w decline in the September 9 week. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages rose 4.0% after the 5.2% w/w jump the prior week.

The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan jumped 22bps to 6.45% in the week ended September 16, reaching its highest level since October 2008. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased 15bps to 5.67%, its highest since November 2008, and the rate on 30-year Jumbo loan jumped 25bps to 5.92%. The rate on the 5-year ARM soared 49bps to 5.51%.

The average loan size stayed largely unchanged, rising a mere 0.03% w/w to $365,800 in the week of September 16. The series high of $401,900 was reached in the week ended May 6. The average size of a purchase loan rose 2.0% w/w to $413,200. The average refinancing loan size declined 2.9% w/w to $267,200 in the September 16 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. The figures for weekly mortgage applications and interest rates are available in Haver's SURVEYS database.

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