Mortgage Applications Edge Slightly Higher

Mortgage applications in the United States held largely steady last week, increasing 0.8 percent from the week before, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Refinance Index increased 4 percent for the week ending December 18 and was 124 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 7 percent compared with the previous week and was 26 percent higher than last year.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 74.8 percent of total applications from 72.7 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased to 1.9 percent of total applications.  

“There are still signs of relative strength in the housing market as 2020 ends,” MBA Associate Vice President of Industry and Forecasting Joel Kan said. “However, housing affordability will be worth monitoring next year. The lower loan size segment of the market – particularly for entry-level and first-time buyers – continues to be impacted by rapidly increasing home prices and tight inventory.”