Applications for home mortgages surged last week

Refinancing activity drove the increase

National /
Sep.September 23, 2020 12:30 PM
An increase in mortgage applications came despite interest rates ticking up (iStock)

An increase in mortgage applications came despite interest rates ticking up (iStock)

The final week of summer saw a surge in demand for mortgages from homebuyers and homeowners alike.

An index tracking the weekly volume of purchase loan applications increased 3 percent, seasonally adjusted, from the prior week. The Mortgage Bankers Association metric, known as the purchase index, was up 25 percent year-over-year.

It was the 18th consecutive week that the purchase index was higher than it was a year earlier. The average purchase loan size grew to $371,000, an all-time high in the MBA’s weekly survey, which covers 75 percent of the residential mortgage market.

MBA’s refinance index, which tracks the volume of applications to refinance home loans, increased an adjusted 9 percent week-over-week. The metric was up 86 percent from the same period last year.

Joel Kan, head of industry forecasting for MBA, said last week’s increases in applications for both refinancing and purchase loans indicate that “the strong interest in homebuying observed this summer has carried over to the fall.”

Kan noted that the increases came despite an uptick in rates for 15- and 30-year fixed-rate loans.

Last week the benchmark 30-year mortgage rate increased to 3.10 percent from 3.07 percent. For jumbo loans, rates dropped to 3.35 percent from 3.41 percent. For a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, rates increased to 2.64 percent from 2.61 percent.

Nationwide, the number of homes for sale is lower than it has been since 1982. With demand up, supply down and mortgage rates low, the median price for existing home sales climbed above $300,000 for the first time, according to the National Association of Realtors.





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