Mortgage Apps: Persistent Signs of January Rebound?

January 23, 2019
Bottom Line: Mortgage applications fell last week but only modestly so as purchase applications held nearly all of their sharp gains seen in first full week of January. While volatile with significant seasonal adjustments this time of year, purchase applications are suggesting that home purchase activity is starting 2019 significantly stronger than the existing home sales report suggested 2018 ended. The 30-year mortgage rate is now down 36bps in the last 3 months, moving from 5.11% to 4.75% most recently, and the 4-week moving average of the purchase index is now 6% above the 13-week average. The MBA Mortgage Applications Index FELL by 2.7% during the week ended January 18 to 400.6, sharply above its 13 week average of 340.5 but 5.6% BELOW its year ago level. The Purchase Index FELL by 2.2% to 272.5, sharply above its 13 week average of 242.6 and 3.1% ABOVE its year ago level. The Refinance Index FELL by 5.3% to 1,111. With this decline, refinancing activity is sharply above its 13 week average of 883 but 16.2% BELOW its year ago level. Contract Mortgage Rates were MIXED with the 30-year fixed rate increasing by 1 bp to 4.75% and with the 15-year fixed rate declining by 1 bp to 4.12%.