Report: Mortgage Applications Decline Last Week

Mortgage applications dropped 8.4 percent last week as interest rates climbed slightly, according to a report released Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 13 found that the refinance index dropped 8 percent from a week earlier – but was 402 percent higher than the same week a year ago.

“The ongoing situation around the coronavirus led to further stress in the financial markets late last week, with unprecedented volatility and widening spreads,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “This drove mortgage rates back up to their highest levels since mid-February and led to a 10 percent decrease in refinance applications.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 74.5 percent of total applications from 76.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased to 6.4 percent of total applications. 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) increased to 3.74 percent from 3.47 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.27 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.