MBA: Rising Rates Cause Mortgage Applications to Continue to Fall
John Jordan | September 14, 2022
With inflation still high, mortgage application activity fell 1.2% for the week ended Sept. 9 as compared to a week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Mortgage activity is expected to continue to be adversely impacted by economic conditions and the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will hike rates by another 0.75% at its meetings later this month.
Mortgage applications decreased 1.2% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Sept. 9, 2022. This week’s results include an adjustment for the observance of Labor Day.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, in reaction to the increase of the Consumer Price Index by 8.3% in August, said he believes the Federal Reserve Bank will opt to increase rates by 75 basis points. “Consumer prices are still rising too aggressively and will force the Federal Reserve to take an even more hawkish stance to fight them. The overall CPI rose 8.3% from one year ago. It is not the 9.1% or 8.5% seen in the past two months, but this number is higher than expected, given the retreat in gasoline prices. A significant contributor to inflation was rapidly rising rents, which rose 6.7% from a year ago—the fastest growth in nearly 40 years.” He added that rent prices will accelerate in the near term as rental demand remains exceptionally high from ongoing job additions and higher mortgage rates forcing people out of the home-buying market.
The MBA’s Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 1.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 12% compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 4% from the previous week and was 83% lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.2% from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 12% compared with the previous week and was 29% lower than the same week one year ago.
“The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hit the 6% mark for the first time since 2008—rising to 6.01%—which is essentially double what it was a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Higher mortgage rates have pushed refinance activity down more than 80% from last year and have contributed to more homebuyers staying on the sidelines. Government loans, which tend to be favored by first-time buyers, bucked this trend and increased over the week, driven mainly by VA and USDA lending activity.”
Added Kan, “The spread between the conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate and both ARM and jumbo loans remained wide last week, at 118 and 45 basis points, respectively. The wide spread underscores the volatility in capital markets due to uncertainty about the Fed’s next policy moves.”
The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 30.2% of total applications from 30.7% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 9.1% of total applications.
The FHA share of total applications increased to 13.4% from 13.3% the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.3% from 10.8% the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.7% from 0.6% the week prior.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) increased to 6.01% from 5.94%, with points decreasing to 0.76 from 0.79 (including the origination fee) for 80% 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 $647,200) increased to 5.56% from 5.46%, with points decreasing to 0.39 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80% 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 5.71% from 5.61%, with points increasing to 1.12 from 1.06 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.30% from 5.23%, with points increasing to 0.89 from 0.86 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.