Mortgage applications increased 16.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 8, 2021. The previous week’s results included an adjustment for the holidays.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 16.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 69 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 20 percent from the previous week and was 93 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 8 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 60 percent compared with the previous week and was 10 percent higher than the same week one year ago.
“Booming refinance activity in the first full week of 2021 caused mortgage applications to surge to their highest level since March 2020, despite most mortgage rates in the survey rising last week. The expectation of additional fiscal stimulus from the incoming administration, and the rollout of vaccines improving the outlook, drove Treasury yields and rates higher. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate climbed two basis points to 2.88 percent, but reversing the trend, the 15-year fixed rate ticked down to 2.39 percent – a record low,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Even with the rise in mortgage rates, refinancing did not slow to begin the year, with the index hitting its highest level since last March. Both conventional and government refinance applications increased, with applications for government loans having their strongest week since June 2012.”
Added Kan, “Sustained housing demand continued to support purchase growth, with activity up nearly 10 percent from a year ago. The lower average loan balance observed was partly due to a 9.2 percent increase in FHA applications, which is a positive sign of more lower-income and first-time buyers returning to the market.”
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 74.8 percent of total applications from 73.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 1.6 percent of total applications.
The FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.6 percent from 10.1 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 15.8 percent from 13.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.4 percent the week prior.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) increased to 2.88 percent from 2.86 percent, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 2.93 percent from 2.90 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 2.39 percent from 2.40 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.29 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.
The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 2.66 percent from 2.63 percent, with points decreasing to 0.38 from 0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
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The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.