Mortgage Applications Continue to Rise


Mortgage applications increased for the fifth straight week, raising 2.8% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Dec. 1, 2023. Last week’s results include an adjustment for the observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The numbers:

  • The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. 
  • On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 43% compared with the previous week. 
  • The Refinance Index increased 14% from the previous week and was 10% higher than the same week one year ago. 
  • The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.3% from one week earlier. 
  • The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 35% compared with the previous week and was 17% lower than the same week one year ago.
  • The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 34.7% of total applications from 30.6% the previous week. 
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 7.4% of total applications.
  • The FHA share of total applications increased to 15.0% from 13.5% the week prior. 
  • The VA share of total applications increased to 12.8% from 12.6% the week prior. 
  • The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.5% from the week prior.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) decreased to 7.17% from 7.37%, with points decreasing to 0.60 from 0.64 (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 $726,200) decreased to 7.35% from 7.54%, with points decreasing to 0.44 from 0.62 (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 decreased to 6.98% from 7.18%, with points increasing to 0.84 from 0.81 (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 6.80% from 6.88%, with points increasing to 0.77 from 0.52 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 6.58% from 6.59%, with points decreasing to 0.69 from 0.76 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

MBA’s take: 

“Mortgage rates declined last week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage falling to 7.17%—the lowest level since August 2023. Slower inflation and financial markets anticipating the potential end of the Fed’s hiking cycle are both behind the recent decline in rates,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist. “Refinance applications saw the strongest week in two months and increased on a year-over-year basis for the second consecutive week for the first time since late 2021. The overall level of refinance applications is still very low, but recent increases could signal that 2023 was the low point in this cycle for refinance activity, consistent with our originations forecast. Purchase applications remained 17% lower than a year ago, held back by low inventory and still-challenging affordability conditions.”





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