Largest Increase in Mortgage Activity Since March

Per the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) survey through the week ending December 8th, total mortgage activity increased 7.4% from the previous week, and the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rate fell 10 basis points to 7.07%. The FRM rate has decreased by 54 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 3.5%, and refinancing activity increased 19.4% week-over-week.

The market composite index increase over the week was the largest since the first week of March. Despite this, the index is still 7.7% lower than one year ago. Purchasing activity was 18.1% lower than last year and refinancing activity, for a third consecutive week, increased from a year ago at 27.2%. Buyers continue to struggle with a lack of existing inventory despite rates falling significantly over the past month.

The refinance share of mortgage activity rose from 34.7% to 39.2% over the week while the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity fell from 7.4% from 6.3%. The average loan size for purchases was $396,500 at the start of December, down from $406,600 in November. Conversely, the average loan size for refinancing increased from $245,900 to $251,000. Lastly, the average loan size for an ARM was up at start of December to $809,200 while the average loan size for a FRM fell to $309,100, its lowest level since April 2021.

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