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MBA: Mortgage Applications Decreased in Weekly Survey; Purchase Applications Lowest in 28 Years


From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications decreased 2.9 percent from one
week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage
Applications Survey for the week ending September 1, 2023.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.9 percent on
a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 5
percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous
week and was 30 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase
Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 5 percent
compared with the previous week and was 28 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage applications declined to the lowest level since December 1996, despite a drop in mortgage
rates. Both purchase and refinance applications fell, with the purchase index hitting a 28-year low, as
prospective buyers remain on the sidelines due to low housing inventory and elevated mortgage rates,”
said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “The 30-year fixed mortgage rate
decreased to 7.21 percent last week, but rates remained more than a full percentage point higher than a
year ago, despite mixed data on the health of the economy and signs of a cooling job market. The
refinance index dropped to its lowest level since January 2023, driven by a 6 percent decline in
conventional refinances.”

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances
($726,200 or less) decreased to 7.21 percent from 7.31 percent, with points decreasing to 0.69 from 0.73
(including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.

emphasis added
Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index.

According to the MBA, purchase activity is down 28% year-over-year unadjusted.  

Red is a four-week average (blue is weekly).  This is the lowest level since 1995!

The second graph shows the refinance index since 1990.

With higher mortgage rates, the refinance index declined sharply in 2022 – and has mostly flat lined at a low level since then.

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