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MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest Weekly Survey

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From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications increased 7.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 20, 2023. This week’s results include an adjustment for the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

… The Refinance Index increased 15 percent from the previous week and was 77 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 39 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates declined for the third straight week, which is good news for potential homebuyers looking ahead to the spring homebuying season. Mortgage rates on most loan types decreased last week and the 30-year fixed rate reached its lowest level since September 2022 at 6.2 percent,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Overall applications increased with both gains in purchase and refinance activity, but purchase applications remained almost 39 percent lower than a year ago. Homebuying activity remains tepid, but if rates continue to fall and home prices cool further, we expect to see potential buyers come back into the market. Many have been waiting for affordability challenges to subside.”

Added Kan, “Despite a 15 percent increase in refinances, they were still 77 percent behind last year’s pace, as rates remained more than two percentage points higher, thus providing very little refinance incentive for most borrowers who are locked into lower rates.”

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) decreased to 6.20 percent from 6.23 percent, with points increasing to 0.69 from 0.67 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
emphasis addedClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the refinance index since 1990.

With higher mortgage rates, the refinance index declined sharply in 2022.
Three weeks ago, the refinance index was at the lowest level since the year 2000, but it has rebounded a little as rates declined.
The second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index.
According to the MBA, purchase activity is down 39% year-over-year unadjusted.
Note: Red is a four-week average (blue is weekly).

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