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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Turned Down
by Carol Stone, CBE  August 17, 2022

• Applications for purchase loans declined for a second week.

• Refinancing applications decreased after rising.

• Rates eased on 30-year mortgages, but rose on 15-year loans.

Mortgage applications decreased 2.3% (-62.3% y/y) in the week ended August 12 after rising 0.2% the week before, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. Purchase applications declined 0.8% (-18.4% y/y) in the August 12 week, following a decrease of 1.4% (-18.5% y/y) in the prior week. Applications to refinance an existing mortgage loan fell 5.4% (-82.0% y/y), after a rise of 3.5% (also -82.0% y/y) the week before.

The share of applications for refinancing an existing loan eased to 31.2% in the week of August 12 from 32.0% the previous week. The percentage of applications that were ARMs decreased to 7.0% in the August 12 week from 7.4% the week before.

Applications for fixed-rate loans fell 1.8% (-63.8% y/y) in the week of August 12, after rising 1.3% (-64.6% y/y) the week before. Applications for adjustable-rate mortgages declined 8.6% (-19.2% y/y) in the August 12 week following an 11.5% (-13.0% y/y) fall in the prior week.

The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan eased to 5.62% in the week of August 12 from 5.71% in the prior week. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 5.03% from 4.89%. The rate on 30-year Jumbo loan edged down to 5.24% in the August 12 week from 5.26% in the August 5 week while the rate on 5-year ARMs dropped to 4.59% from 4.83% in the August 5 week.

The average loan size was $367,400 in the August 12 week, down 1.9% from the week before. The series high of $401,900 was reached in the week ended May 6. The average size of a purchase loan was $410,900, down 1.3% from the prior week. The average refinancing loan size fell 5.0% in the latest week to $271,600.

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.

These figures for weekly mortgage applications and interest rates are available in Haver's SURVEYS database.

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