Mortgage applications sustain weekly slump

by MPA07 Apr 2017
Mortgage applications dropped 1.6% from a week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 31. This marked the third straight week the figure of decreases.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s Market Composite Index decreased by 1% week-on-week. The refinance index dropped 4% from last week, and the seasonally adjusted purchase index rose by 1% from a week ago. The unadjusted purchase index rose 1% from the week prior and the annualized rate was 8% higher.

Refi activity also decreased to 42.6% of total mortgage applications from 44% a week ago; the rate of adjustable-rate mortgage activity remained unchanged at 8.5% of total applications. The average loan size for purchase applications reached a survey high at $318,200.

Meanwhile, FHA applications inched higher to 11.1% from the prior week’s 10.8%; VA applications were virtually unchanged, with 11.1% from the prior week’s 11%; and USDA applications continued a 1% growth.

“As a four-decade veteran of the mortgage industry, I can tell you from experience that recently-enacted laws have created commendable consumer protections and have made the market safer as a whole,” said chairman-elect Dave Motley in a congressional testimony last week. “MBA has consistently supported reasonable requirements that will prevent a reemergence of housing and market disruptions. However, we must be mindful that new regulatory demands imposed under Dodd-Frank have also negatively impacted the availability of affordable and sustainable mortgage credit.”

Motley cited MBA data showing that mortgage credit availability remains far below historic norms. Many borrowers – too often already underserved populations – have been left on the sidelines, he said.

“Now that most of Dodd-Frank's mortgage rules have been implemented, it's time to review these regulations and make the necessary adjustments,” Motley said.

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