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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Increase 2.1%
by Carol Stone, CBE  June 23, 2021

• Applications for both purchase and refinance increase.

• Rates rise on fixed-rate mortgages, rates ease slightly on adjustable-rate loans.

• Average loan size edges down for loans to purchase, increases up for refinance loans.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Loan Applications Index increased 2.1% (-11.2% y/y) in the week ended June 18, following a 4.2% increase in the previous week. Applications to purchase a home rose 0.6% (-14.3% y/y) after increasing 1.6% the week before. Applications for refinancing rose 2.8% (-9.4% y/y) after the previous week's 5.5% rise.

The number of applications for refinancing edged up to 62.5% of total applications in the June 18 week from 61.7% the week before. That share is down from 73.1% during all of December. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity rose back up to 3.9% after dipping to 3.8% the prior week.

The effective interest rate on a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.32% in the latest week from 3.22% the week before. The all-time low in this survey was 2.95% in the weeks of December 11 and 18, 2020. The recent high was 3.48% the week of March 19. The effective 15-year rate was up 12 basis points in the June 18 week to 2.67%. The effective rate for a 30-year Jumbo mortgage was up five basis points in that week to 3.39%. The rate on a 5-year ARM fell five basis points to 2.78%.

The average mortgage loan size rose 0.7% (+4.3% y/y) to $340,200 in the June 18 week. The average size of a loan to purchase a house fell 0.3% (+11.0% y/y) to $398,700. The average size of a refinanced loan rose 2.0% (-0.1% y/y) to $305,200.

Applications for fixed-rate loans rose 2.0% (-12.0% y/y), in the June 18 week, a second increase after sizable declines in each of the prior three weeks. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages rose 5.3% (12.6% y/y) following a 1.1% gain.

This 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) 06/18/21 06/11/21 06/04/21 Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
Total Market Index 2.1 4.2 -3.1 -11.2 63.0 32.4 -10.4
  Purchase 0.6 1.6 0.3 -14.3 11.4 6.6 2.1
  Refinancing 2.8 5.5 -5.1 -9.4 111.0 71.1 -24.3
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 3.32 3.22 3.24 3.41

(Jun '20)

3.40 4.34 4.94
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