Mortgage applications see a big drop this week

But VA refinances buck the trend, jumping 23%

After a solid start with steady rises in 2020, mortgage applications have taken a hit this week.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications decreased 6.4% from last week, which saw a 1.1% increase.

This follows January’s 11-year high for mortgage applications, which jump-started the home-buying season this year.

“Treasury yields moved slightly higher last week, despite uncertainty surrounding the economic impact from the spread of the coronavirus. The 30-year fixed mortgage increased five basis points to 3.77% as a result, causing refinance applications – driven by a 11% drop in applications for conventional refinances – to fall,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting.

Refinances are continuing to see a positive push this year also, but saw a small dip this week.

According to the MBA, the Refinance Index decreased 8% from the previous week and was 165% higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 63.2% of total applications from 65.5% the previous week, the MBA report said.

“Even with an 8 percent decline, the refinance index was still at its third highest reading so far this year,” Kan said. “Government refinance activity, which tends to lag movements in the conventional market, bucked the overall trend, as VA loan refinances jumped 23%.”

The Purchase Index fell 3% last week, as there continues to be some pullback after a strong January, according to Kan. Activity was still 10% higher than a year ago.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of this week’s mortgage application data:

  • The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity decreased to 5.4% of total applications.
  • The Federal Housing Administration’s share of mortgage apps decreased to 9.5% from 9.7% last week.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs share of applications increased to 12.1% from 10.1% last week.
  • The Department of Agriculture’s share of total applications held steady from last week’s 0.4%.
  • Mortgage interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) increased to 3.77% from last week’s 3.72%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $510,400) increased to 3.79% from last week’s 3.75%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.86% from last week’s 3.84%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.22% from last week’s 3.20%.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.23% from last week’s 3.21%.

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