Mortgage applications decreased 4.2 percent from one
week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage
Applications Survey for the week ending August 18, 2023.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 4.2 percent on
a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 6
percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 3 percent from the previous
week and was 35 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase
Index decreased 5 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 7 percent
compared with the previous week and was 30 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
“Treasury yields continued to spike last week as markets grappled with illiquidity and concerns that the
resilient economy will keep inflation stubbornly high. This spike pushed mortgage rates higher last week,
with the 30-year fixed rate increasing to 7.31 percent – the highest level since December 2000,” said Joel
Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Applications for home purchase mortgages
dropped to their lowest level since April 1995, as homebuyers withdrew from the market due to the
elevated rate environment and the erosion of purchasing power. Low housing supply is also keeping
home prices high in many markets, adding to the affordability hurdles buyers are facing.”
Added Kan, “The ARM share of applications increased to 7.6 percent, the highest level in five months,
and the number of ARM applications picked up by 4 percent last week. Some homebuyers are looking to
lower their monthly payments by accepting some interest rate risk after the initial fixed period.”
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances
($726,200 or less) increased to 7.31 percent from 7.16 percent, with points increasing to 0.78 from 0.68
(including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased
from last week.
Click on graph for larger image.
The first graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index.
According to the MBA, purchase activity is down 30% year-over-year unadjusted.