MBA Survey: Mortgage Applications at Lowest Level Since 1996


According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 8 (including an adjustment for the Labor Day holiday), mortgage applications decreased 0.8% from one week earlier.

The Refinance Index decreased 5% from the previous week and was 31% lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1% from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 11% compared with the previous week and was 27% lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage applications decreased for the seventh time in eight weeks, reaching the lowest level since 1996,” says Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist. “Last week’s decline was driven by a 5% drop in refinance applications to the weakest reading since January 2023.

“The 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased to 7.27% last week and was 40 basis points higher than where it was in late July. Purchase applications increased over the week despite the increase in rates, pushed higher by a 2% gain in conventional loans. Given how high rates are right now, there continues to be minimal refinance activity and a reduced incentive for homeowners to sell and buy a new home at a higher rate.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 29.1% of total applications from 30.0% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.5% of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 14.2% from 13.7% the week prior. The VA share of total applications remained unchanged at 11.3% from the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.4% from 0.6% the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 7.04% from 7.03%, with points increasing to 0.98 from 0.95 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

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