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Mortgage Apps: Another Decline

February 22, 2017
Bottom Line: Mortgage activity fell again last week with the survey of mortgage bankers holding near, but still above, its lows of 2013/14. Applications for refinancing fell further as rates rebounded modestly to 4.36% on the 30y fixed-rate mortgage. The refi index remains at decade lows. Purchases, meanwhile, fell for the second week in a row but remain near 5-year highs. Purchase activity has been holding total mortgage activity up, despite the move higher in mortgage rates that has now been sustained for 3+ months. While not yet a change in trend, the latest data suggests this trend bears watching for a potential turn lower in purchase applications.

The MBA Mortgage Applications Index FELL by 2.0% during the week ended February 17 to 371.5, modestly below its 13 week average of 387.7 and 28.8% BELOW its year ago level.

The Purchase Index FELL by 2.8% to 216.9, modestly below its 13 week average of 231.1 and 0.5% BELOW 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 FELL by 1.0% to 1,228. With this decline, refinancing activity is modestly below its 13 week average of 1,287 and 45.9% BELOW its year ago level.

Contract Mortgage Rates ROSE with the 30-year fixed rate increasing by 4 bps to 4.36% and with the 15-year fixed rate increasing by 1 bp to 3.56%.