Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Mar 15 2023

Mortgage Applications Advance for a Second Week

  • Purchase and refinance loans both increase again after February declines.
  • Interest rates ease on fixed rate and adjustable rate loans.

Mortgage applications increased 6.5% (-56.8% y/y) in the week ended March 10 following a 7.4% advance in the March 3 week and declines in the prior three weeks. These data are from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

Applications to refinance an existing loan increased 4.8% (-74.2%) in the March 10 week after 9.4%. the week before. Applications for purchase rose 7.3% (-38.6%) following a 6.6% increase in the March 3 week and five straight weeks of decline.

The percentage of applications for refinancing an existing loan edged down to 28.2% in the week ended March 10 from 28.9% the week before; while this is the smallest share since mid-November, the range is quite narrow in that period, with a high of 31.3% in the December 16 week. The percentage of loan applications that are ARMs ticked down to 8.5 in the March 10 week from 8.6% the week before but was still modestly larger than the 7.3% average for the month of February.

The effective interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan eased to 6.94% in the March 10 week from 7.02% in the March 3 week. This compares to an average of 6.68% for the four weeks of February. The effective rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 6.33% in the latest week, down from 6.50% the week before. The rate on 30-year Jumbo loans also eased, down to 6.56% from 6.67% in the March 3 week. The rate on a 5-year ARM was 6.01%, down from 6.10% in the prior week.

The average loan size rose 0.7% (1.6% y/y) to $382,000 in the week ended March 10, the same size increase as in the March 3 week. The series high of $401,900 was reached in the week ended May 6, 2022. The average size of a purchase loan rose 1.2% (-4.9%) in the latest week to $430,800. The average loan size to refinance a mortgage fell 2.5% (-12.3% y/y) to $257,800.

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.

  • Carol Stone, CBE came to Haver Analytics in 2003 following more than 35 years as a financial market economist at major Wall Street financial institutions, most especially Merrill Lynch and Nomura Securities. She has broad experience in analysis and forecasting of flow-of-funds accounts, the federal budget and Federal Reserve operations. At Nomura Securites, among other duties, she developed various indicator forecasting tools and edited a daily global publication produced in London and New York for readers in Tokyo.   At Haver Analytics, Carol is a member of the Research Department, aiding database managers with research and documentation efforts, as well as posting commentary on select economic reports. In addition, she conducts Ways-of-the-World, a blog on economic issues for an Episcopal-Church-affiliated website, The Geranium Farm.   During her career, Carol served as an officer of the Money Marketeers and the Downtown Economists Club. She has a PhD from NYU's Stern School of Business. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has a weekend home on Long Island.

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