U.S. Mortgage Loans in Forbearance Dips to 5.37 Percent in January

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 22, 2021) – Mortgage applications decreased 1.9 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 15, 2021.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 1.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and was 87 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 9 percent compared with the previous week and was 15 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates increased across the board last week, with the 30-year fixed rate rising to 2.92 percent – its highest level since November 2020 – and the 15-year fixed rate increasing for the first time in seven weeks to 2.48 percent. Market expectations of a larger than anticipated fiscal relief package, which is expected to further boost economic growth and lower unemployment, have driven Treasury yields higher the last two weeks,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “After a post-holiday surge of refinances, higher rates chipped away at demand. There was a 5 percent drop in refinance activity, driven by a 13.5 percent pullback in government refinances.”

Added Kan, “Purchase applications remained strong based on current housing demand, rising over the week and up a noteworthy 15 percent from last year. Homebuyers in early 2021 continue to seek newer, larger homes. The average loan size for purchase loans jumped to $384,000, the second highest level in the survey.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 72.3 percent of total applications from 74.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 2.1 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.3 percent from 9.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 13.8 percent from 15.8 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.4 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) increased to 2.92 percent from 2.88 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent 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 $510,400) increased to 3.19 percent from 3.17 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.28 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent 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 3.01 percent from 2.93 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 2.48 percent from 2.39 percent, with points increasing to 0.33 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 2.76 percent from 2.66 percent, with points decreasing to 0.31 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

If you would like to purchase a subscription of MBA’s Weekly Applications Survey, please visit www.mba.org/WeeklyApps, contact [email protected] or click here.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.