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Mortgage Apps: Seasonal Volatility But a Clear Downtrend in Refis

January 4, 2017
Bottom Line: The mortgage banker's association released two weeks of application data this morning after their holiday break. The data continues to show a sharp slowdown in refinancing since mortgage rates started to rise in early November with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rising from 3.75% at the beginning of November to 4.40% in the latest survey. While the slowdown in both refinance and purchase applications has been sudden, both are still above their year ago levels -- purchase apps by over 9% and refinancing apps by 1.5% - despite mortgage rates being higher than year ago levels.

The MBA Mortgage Applications Index ROSE by 0.1% during the week ended December 30 to 358.5, sharply below its 13 week average of 440.8 but 9.1% ABOVE its year ago level.

The Purchase Index FELL by 1.4% to 228.0, modestly above its 13 week average of 221.7 and 16.2% ABOVE its year ago level. The level of purchase activity had stayed quite low after the crisis until 2015 when it started to rise. But that trend has lost momentum since mid-2016.

The Refinance Index ROSE by 1.7% to 1,132. Despite this increase, refinancing activity is sharply below its 13 week average of 1,708 but 1.5% ABOVE its year ago level.

Contract Mortgage Rates FELL with the 30-year fixed rate declining by 6 bps to 4.39% and with the 15-year fixed rate declining by 6 bps to 3.64%.