Mortgage Market Saw ‘Mixed Bag of Action’ Last Week

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Mortgage application volume dipped 0.9% on an adjusted basis during the week ended April 30, as the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage increased slightly to 3.18%, up from 3.17% the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey

Applications for refinances increased 0.1% compared with the previous week while applications for purchases decreased 3%.

Year-over-year, applications for refinances were down 17% but applications for purchases were up 24%.

On an unadjusted basis, total volume decreased 1% compared with the previous week.

“There was a mixed bag of action in the mortgage market last week,” says Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting for the MBA, in a statement. Mortgage rates were slightly higher, refinance applications were essentially unchanged, and purchase applications fell for the second straight week.”

“Both conventional and government purchase applications declined, but average loan sizes increased for each loan type,” Kan says. “This is a sign that the competitive purchase market, driven by low housing inventory and high demand, is pushing prices higher and weighing down on activity. The higher prices are also affecting the mix of activity, with stronger growth in purchase loans with larger-than-average balances.

“An increase in conventional refinances was offset by a decline in government refinances,” Kan adds. “The 30-year fixed rate was up slightly to 3.18 percent, which is still 22 basis points lower than a year ago, but higher than it was between mid-2020 and February 2021.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 61.0% of total applications, up from 60.6% the previous week.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3.9% of total applications.

Photo: Dhruv Mehra

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