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Mortgage Apps:  Signs of Weaker Housing Activity?

August 30, 2017
Bottom Line: Purchase applications continued to fall last week. While refinancing is staging a small rebound from very low levels hit early this year, the declines in the purchase applications since mid-June are particuarly notable. While often volatile and subject to sharp seasonal adjustments at this time of year, the 4-week average is usually sufficient to smooth these data. And that average has been trending decidedly lower for 6 weeks now, coincident with both existing and new home sales figures generally disappointing expectations. While not yet a fully developed trend, the signs of weaker housing activity, at least temporarily, are growing.

The MBA Mortgage Applications Index FELL by 2.3% during the week ended August 25 to 407.2, modestly below its 13 week average of 419.6 and 25.3% BELOW its year ago level.

The Purchase Index FELL by 2.7% to 224.1, moderately below its 13 week average of 242.2 but 3.7% ABOVE its year ago level.

The Refinance Index FELL by 2.0% to 1,430. With this decline, refinancing activity is slightly above its 13 week average of 1,408 but 41.4% BELOW its year ago level.

Contract Mortgage Rates FELL with the 30-year fixed rate declining by 1 bp to 4.11% and with the 15-year fixed rate declining by 4 bps to 3.36%.