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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Increase Again
by Tom Moeller  January 19, 2022

• Purchase applications rise again while refinancing applications fall for third week.

• 30-year mortgage interest rate continues to increase.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Loan Applications Index rose 2.3% (-37.3% y/y) in the week ended January 14 following a 1.4% increase in the previous week. Purchase applications strengthened 7.9% (-12.2% y/y) after a 2.2% rise in the previous week. Applications for loans to refinance fell 3.1% (-49.2% y/y) after easing 0.1% in the previous week.

The share of applications for refinancing fell to 60.3% in the week ended January 14 from 64.1% in the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3.8% from 3.1% in the prior week.

The effective interest rate on a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.77% in the week ended January 14 from 3.65% in the previous week. It was the highest level since March 2020. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage increased to 3.05% from 2.82% while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year mortgage increased to 3.67% from 3.53%. The interest rate on a 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 3.13%, after surging to 3.10% in the previous week.

Applications for fixed-rate loans rose 1.5% (-38.4% y/y) in the second week of 2022, the same as in the previous week. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages soared 24.9% (16.7% y/y) after falling in both of the previous two weeks.

The average size of a mortgage loan increased 2.6% (5.9% y/y) to $346,800 in the week ended January 14 following a 1.0% rise in the previous week. The average size of a loan for purchase jumped 4.2% (9.0% y/y) to $418,500 in the latest week. The average size of a refinanced loan fell 0.9% last week (-2.0% y/y) to $299,500.

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) 01/14/22 01/07/22 12/31/21 Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
Total Market Index 2.3 1.4 -5.6 -37.3 -8.0 63.0 32.4
  Purchase 7.9 2.2 -10.2 -12.2 -2.3 11.4 6.6
  Refinancing -3.1 -0.1 -2.5 -49.2 -10.7 111.0 71.1
30-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 3.77 3.65 3.47 3.00

(Jan. '21)

3.25 3.40 4.34
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