Press Release - Weekly Application Survey


Title: Refinance Applications Drop for Sixth Consecutive Week
Source:   MBA
Date: 3/28/2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 28, 2012)Mortgage applications decreased 2.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 23, 2012. 

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier.  On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 2.6 percent compared with the previous week.  The Refinance Index decreased 4.6 percent from the previous week.  The Refinance Index has decreased for six consecutive weeks, falling to its lowest level since December, and is 24.2 percent lower than its 2012 peak observed in February. The decline in the Refinance Index this week was driven largely by a 12.0 percent drop in government refinance activity, while conventional refinance applications fell by less, decreasing 3.4 percent from the previous week.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3.3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 3.0 percent compared with the previous week and was 1.0 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The four week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index is down 3.40 percent.  The four week moving average is up 2.14 percent for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, while this average is down 4.94 percent for the Refinance Index.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 71.9 percent of total applications, the lowest level since July 2011, from 73.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 5.4 percent from 5.6 percent of total applications from the previous week.

During the month of February, the investor share of applications for home purchase was at 6.1 percent, a decrease from 6.4 percent in January.  This change was led by a decrease in the New England region.  In addition, the share of purchase mortgages for second homes decreased to 5.8 percent in February from 5.9 percent in January.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) increased to 4.23 percent, the highest rate since November 2011, from 4.19 percent, with points decreasing to 0.45 from  0.47 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.  The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) increased to 4.54 percent, the highest since rate December 2011,  from 4.49 percent, with points increasing to 0.46 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.96 percent from 3.93 percent, with points increasing to 0.52 from 0.48 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.50 percent, the highest rate since December 2011, from 3.47 percent, with points increasing to 0.42 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.00 percent, the highest since rate December 2011, from 2.90 percent, with points decreasing to 0.42 from 0.44 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate increased from last week.

If you would like to purchase a subscription of MBA’s Weekly Applications Survey, please visit www.mortgagebankers.org/WeeklyApps, contact mbaresearch@mortgagebankers.org or click here.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990.  Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.  Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is the national association representing the real estate finance industry, an industry that employs more than 280,000 people in virtually every community in the country. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the association works to ensure the continued strength of the nation's residential and commercial real estate markets; to expand homeownership and extend access to affordable housing to all Americans. MBA promotes fair and ethical lending practices and fosters professional excellence among real estate finance employees through a wide range of educational programs and a variety of publications. Its membership of over 2,200 companies includes all elements of real estate finance: mortgage companies, mortgage brokers, commercial banks, thrifts, Wall Street conduits, life insurance companies and others in the mortgage lending field. For additional information, visit MBA's Web site:   www.mba.org.