by Calculated Risk on 8/25/2021 07:00:00 AM
Mortgage applications increased 1.6 percent from one
week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage
Applications Survey for the week ending August 20, 2021.
… The Refinance Index increased 1 percent from the previous
week and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase
Index increased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent
compared with the previous week and was 16 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
“Treasury yields fell last week, as investors continue to anxiously monitor if the rise in COVID-19 cases in
several states starts to dampen economic activity. Mortgage rates slightly declined as a result, with the
30-year fixed rate decreasing for the first time in three weeks. Lower rates led to an increase in refinance
applications, with government loan applications jumping 10 percent to the highest level since May 2021,”
said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Purchase
applications for both conventional and government loans also increased. The purchase index was at its
highest level since early July, despite still continuing to lag 2020’s pace. There was also some easing in
average loan sizes, which is potentially a sign that more first-time buyers looking for lower-priced homes
are being helped by the recent uptick in for-sale inventory for both newly built homes and existing homes.”
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances
($548,250 or less) decreased to 3.03 percent from 3.06 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.34
(including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased
from last week.
The first graph shows the refinance index since 1990.
With low rates, the index remains elevated.
The second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index
Note: The year ago comparisons for the unadjusted purchase index are now difficult since purchase activity picked up in late May 2020.