Mortgage Apps: Potential Turn Higher In Trend For '19

January 16, 2019
Bottom Line: Mortgage applications were initially slow to respond to the drop in rates late last year, but the first two weeks of the new year have now seen a sharp increase in activity. There was a sharp spike in purchase applications last week -- and while difficult seasonal adjustments will likely see the index give back some of those gains in the coming week, the increase was enough to suggest a potential turn in trend. This will be important to watch going forward -- while there is a lack of government data available to confirm this due to the shutdown, the housing market appears to be starting '19 with stronger than expected activity. The MBA Mortgage Applications Index ROSE by 13.5% during the week ended January 11 to 411.8, sharply above its 13 week average of 335.6 and 1.4% ABOVE its year ago level. The Purchase Index ROSE by 9.1% to 278.5, sharply above its 13 week average of 239.2 and 11.8% ABOVE its year ago level. The Refinance Index ROSE by 18.7% to 1,172. Despite this increase, refinancing activity is sharply above its 13 week average of 868 but 10.8% BELOW its year ago level. Contract Mortgage Rates were MIXED with the 30-year fixed rate unchanged at 4.74% and with the 15-year fixed rate declining by 3 bps to 4.13%.