Gross Mortgage Application Volume Declines 8.5%: MBA
Adverse weather and a holiday-shortened week produced mixed results in two weekly mortgage application surveys. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) survey of gross mortgage application volume dropped 8.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending February 19, compared to one week ago. But the Mortgage Maxx index that’s adjusted to reflect the number of households applying for mortgages increased 6.5%. The 15-point swing between the two surveys is unusual, but not unprecedented. The Mortgage Maxx index was adjusted to reflect the holiday-shortened week. The MBA survey was not. However, the MBA said the rash of extreme winter weather impacted results. “As many East Coast markets were digging out from the blizzard last week, purchase applications fell, another indication that housing demand remains relatively weak,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics. “With home prices continuing to drift amid an abundant inventory of homes on the market, potential homebuyers do not see any urgency to lock in purchases.” MBA’s refinance index decreased 8.9% from the previous week and the purchase index was also down 7.3%, putting the later at its lowest level since May 1997. Refinance mortgages took a 68.1% share of all application business, down from 69.3% last week. Adjustable-rate mortgages increased to 4.7% from 4.4% a week ago. Write to Austin Kilgore.