Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Feb 28 2024

U.S. Mortgage Applications Fell Again in the Latest Week

  • Mortgage loan applications decline for third consecutive week.
  • Purchase loan applications decline for fifth consecutive week.
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage eased only slightly in the last week.

Mortgage applications declined 5.6% (-8.6% y/y) in the week ended February 23 after plummeting 10.6% (-8.9% y/y) in the prior week. The level of applications was the lowest since the second week of November. Applications for loans to purchase a home fell 4.5% (-11.9% y/y) in the latest week, following a 10.1% (-13.0% y/y) drop the prior week. Applications to refinance a loan declined 7.3% (-1.1% y/y) in the February 23 week, after falling 11.4% (+0.1% y/y) the prior week. These data are from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

The effective interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan eased to 7.23% in the week ended February 23 from 7.25% the prior week. It remained below the 8.12% high in mid-October of last year. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 6bps to 6.87% in the latest week from 6.81% the prior week. The rate on 30-year Jumbo loans increased 7bps to 7.36% last week from 7.29% in the week ended February 16, while the rate on the 5-year ARM dropped 9bps to 6.54% from 6.63%.

The share of applications for refinancing an existing loan fell to 31.2% in the week ended February 23, from 32.6% in the week ended February 16. The percentage of applications that were ARMs rose to 7.5% last week from 7.4% in the prior week.

The average loan size declined 1.4% (-0.8% y/y) to $373,600 in the week ended February 23, from $379,000 in the week ended February 16. The average size of a purchase loan declined 2.1% (+1.1% y/y) to 430,000 in the latest week from $439,400 in the prior week. The average loan size to refinance a mortgage slipped 1.9% (-2.3% y/y) to $249,200 in the week ended February 23, from $254,000 in the prior week.

The Mortgage Bankers Association 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.

  • Kathleen Stephansen is a Senior Economist for Haver Analytics and an Independent Trustee for the EQAT/VIP/1290 Trust Funds, encompassing the US mutual funds sponsored by the Equitable Life Insurance Company. She is a former Chief Economist of Huawei Technologies USA, Senior Economic Advisor to the Boston Consulting Group, Chief Economist of the American International Group (AIG) and AIG Asset Management’s Senior Strategist and Global Head of Sovereign Research. Prior to joining AIG in 2010, Kathleen held various positions as Chief Economist or Head of Global Research at Aladdin Capital Holdings, Credit Suisse and Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette Securities Corporation.

    Kathleen serves on the boards of the Global Interdependence Center (GIC), as Vice-Chair of the GIC College of Central Bankers, is the Treasurer for Economists for Peace and Security (EPS) and is a former board member of the National Association of Business Economics (NABE). She is a member of Chatham House and the Economic Club of New York. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the Universite Catholique de Louvain and graduate degrees in economics from the University of New Hampshire (MA) and the London School of Economics (PhD abd).

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