Mortgage Applications Begin to Thaw for Spring


Mortgage applications increased 9.7% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Mar. 1, 2024.

This week’s numbers:

  • The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 9.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. 
  • On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 12% compared with the previous week.
  • The Refinance Index increased 8% from the previous week and was 2% lower than the same week one year ago. 
  • The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 11% from one week earlier.
  • The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 13% compared with the previous week and was 8% lower than the same week one year ago.
  • The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 30.2% of total applications from 31.2% the previous week. 
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.7% of total applications.
  • The FHA share of total applications decreased to 12.7% from 13.0% the week prior. 
  • The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.4% from 11.7% the week prior. 
  • The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.5%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($766,550 or less) decreased to 7.02% from 7.04%, with points unchanged at 0.67 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $766,550) increased to 7.21% from 7.20%, with points decreasing to 0.36 from 0.57 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA was unchanged at 6.86%, with points decreasing to 0.90 from 0.99 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 6.66% from 6.70%, with points decreasing to 0.67 from 0.68 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 6.38% from 6.33%, with points increasing to 0.67 from 0.58 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

MBA’s take:

“The latest data on inflation was not markedly better nor worse than expected, which was enough to bring mortgage rates down a bit, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate declining slightly last week to 7.02%,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s SVP and chief economist. “Mortgage applications were up considerably relative to the prior week, which included the President’s Day holiday. Of note, purchase volume—particularly for FHA loans—was up strongly, again showing how sensitive the first-time homebuyer segment is to relatively small changes in the direction of rates. Other sources of housing data are showing increases in new listings, which is a real positive for the spring buying season given the lack of for-sale inventory.”





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