Mortgage Activity Increases Despite Mortgage Rate Volatility

Per the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) survey through the week ending March 3rd, total mortgage activity increased 7.4% from the previous week and the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rate rose eight basis points to 6.79%. The FRM rate has risen 61 basis points over the past month.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, rose by 7.4% on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis from one week earlier. Purchasing activity increased 7.0%, while refinancing activity increased 9.0% week-over-week.

Purchasing activity has remained low as buyers wait for interest rates to fall back, the seasonally adjusted purchase index was 42.3% lower than a year ago when the FRM rate was 4.27%. Refinancing activity continues to remain low; the Refinancing Index is down 76.1% from one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased from 28.7% to 28.9% over the week, while the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 8.6% from 8.1%. The average loan size for purchases was $425,700 for the first week of March, down from $427,000 over the month of February. The average loan size across purchases, ARM and FRM was down in the first week of March after two consecutive months of increases. For refinancing, average loan size has fallen to $264,500 from $345,800 in March of 2020.

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