Recent Updates

  • Romania: Foreign Reserves Press (Nov)
  • Italy: Ita-coin (Nov)
  • Ireland: GDP (Q3)
  • Brazil: IP (Oct)
  • UK: External Business of MFIs Operating in the UK (Q3)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

Mortgage Loan Applications Decline Even as Rates Fall to Record Lows
by Sandy Batten  September 16, 2020

• Applications for both purchase and refinancings declined.

• Mortgage rates edged down to record lows.

The Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Loan Applications Index decreased 2.5% w/w (+33.0% y/y) in the week ended September 11, the fourth weekly decline in the past five weeks. Applications had risen 2.9% w/w in the previous week. Applications for purchase loans slipped 0.5% w/w (+17.2% y/y) last week after having increased 2.6% w/w in the previous week. Refinancing applications slumped 3.7% w/w (+44.6% y/y), more than reversing the 3.0% w/w rise in the previous week. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 62.8% of total applications from 63.1% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 2.3% of total applications.

The 30-year fixed rate interest rate eased one basis point to 3.16%, returning to its record low reached in the week of August 7. The rate on 15-year loans fell one basis point to another record low of 2.70%. The effective rate for a Jumbo mortgage loan fell (again by one basis point) to 3.48%, also a record low for this series which began in 2011. The rate on the 5-year adjustable rate mortgage jumped up to 3.41%, the highest rate since April 10, from 3.20% the previous week

The average mortgage loan size rose 0.7% w/w to $325,500. The average size of a purchase loan increased 0.4% to $370,200, a record high for this survey, and the average loan size to refinance gained 0.8% to $299,000.

Applications for fixed-rate loans fell 2.5% w/w (+36.8% y/y) and applications for adjustable rate mortgages declined 0.9% w/w (-39.7% y/y).

The 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 SURVEYW database.

MBA Mortgage Applications (%, SA) 09/11/20 09/04/20 08/28/20 Y/Y 2019 2018 2017
Total Market Index -2.5 2.9 -2.0 33.0 32.4 -10.4 -17.8
  Purchase -0.5 2.6 -0.2 17.2 6.6 2.1 5.6
  Refinancing -3.7 3.0 -3.1 44.6 71.1 -24.3 -34.0
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 3.16 3.17 3.19 4.08
(Sep '19)

4.34 4.94 4.32
large image