Mortgage Apps: Purchase Apps Suggest Stabilization in Housing

March 13, 2019
Bottom Line: Mortgage applications have come back down after a swift increase in early '18 but remain above the anemic pace of late '18. With 30-year fixed-rate mortgages still above 4.5% refinancing volumes remain light as purchase account for most of the volatility in overall applications at this point. Overall, the trend suggests some stabilization in housing activity after a very slow 2nd Half of 2018 -- but so far application volumes suggest activity is mostly stabilizing rather than rebounding in any meaningful way. The MBA Mortgage Applications Index ROSE by 2.3% during the week ended March 8 to 384.0, modestly above its 13 week average of 365.0 but 0.9% BELOW its year ago level. The Purchase Index ROSE by 4.3% to 250.8, slightly above its 13 week average of 247.8 and 1.7% ABOVE its year ago level. The Refinance Index FELL by 0.2% to 1,108. With this decline, refinancing activity is moderately above its 13 week average of 1,018 but 4.4% BELOW its year ago level. Contract Mortgage Rates FELL with the 30-year fixed rate declining by 3 bps to 4.64% and with the 15-year fixed rate declining by 6 bps to 4.02%.