Mortgage Applications Lowest Since 2000

 

Apr 30 2014, 7:55AM

 

The week ended April 25 was one of the slowest for mortgage application activity the industry has seen in years.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said applications for both purchase mortgages and refinancing decreased and its Market Composite Index, a measure of overall mortgage applications volume, fell to its lowest level in almost 15 years.

 

The Composite decreased 5.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week ended April 18 and was down 5 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.  Refinancing activity fell 7 percent and purchase applications were off 4 percent from a week earlier on both a seasonally adjusted and an unadjusted basis and was 21 percent lower than during the same week in 2013.

 

Refinancing fell to exactly half of all mortgage applications from 51 percent the previous week.  This is the lowest share for refinancing since July 2009 and it is 13 percentage points below the level at the beginning of 2014.

 

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

 

Purchase Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

 

“Both purchase and refinance application activity fell last week, and the market composite index is at its lowest level since December 2000,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist. “Purchase applications decreased 4 percent over the week, and were 21 percent lower than a year ago. Refinance activity also continued to slide despite a 30-year fixed rate that was unchanged from the previous week. The refinance index dropped 7 percent to the lowest level since 2008, continuing the declining trend that we have seen since May 2013.”

 

Contract interest rates for fixed rate mortgages were lower or unchanged from the previous week while effective rates all decreased.  Interest rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages did increase during the week with the average contract rate rising 10 basis points to 3.26 percent.  Points decreased to 0.35 from 0.36 and the effective rate decreased from the previous week.  Approximately 8 percent of mortgage applications were for the various adjustable rate products, essentially unchanged from the previous week.

 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) with conforming loan balances of $417,000 or less was unchanged at 4.49 percent, with points decreasing to 0.38 from 0.50.  The average contract interest rate for jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with balances greater than $417,000 decreased to 4.37 percent from 4.41 percent, with points dropping to 0.14 from 0.34.

 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 4.17 percent from 4.20 percent with points decreasing to 0.10 from 0.41 and the rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.53 percent from 3.55 percent.  Points for the 15-year decreased to 0.31 from 0.33.

 

MBA’s data is derived from its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey which it has conducted since 1990 and which covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.  Survey respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.  Interest rate information is based on loans with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio and points include the origination fee.  Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.

 

Second Home Market Rebounding Strongly

Apr 7 2014, 11:33AM

Although the second home mortgage market experienced a severe decline during the housing downturn, Americans still aspire to buy second homes and have contributed to the growth of the market consistently since it hit its bottom in 2009 Fannie Mae said today.  While most mortgages are still originated to purchase or refinance owner-occupied primary residences, there is a significant market for mortgages to purchase second homes, those that are neither investment properties nor primary residences.  Fannie Mae’s new report issued today, Second Homes:  Recovery Post Financial Crisis, is part of its Housing Insights series.

Second home mortgages have accounted for an average of 4.76 percent of the purchase mortgage market since 1998 and the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been significant players, acquiring on average about 64 percent of the second home purchase mortgages by volume over that time period.

Fannie Mae uses information from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) survey of second home buyers released last week to profile a typical second home buyer who is older, has a higher income, and is more likely to use a larger degree of cash to finance his purchase than the typical primary home buyer.  At the time of purchase 70 percent of second home mortgages had loan to value ratios under 80 percent compared with 44 percent of primary residence mortgages.

 

 

Second home mortgage originations have historically moved in tandem with the boom-bust cycle of the real estate market.  The share of second home mortgages more than tripled between the late 1990s and the peak year of 2006 then declined through 2009.  In every year since however the second home share of the purchase-money market (PMM) has increased.  During this period, however, the GSEs share of the market has decreased as the share of whole loans held by banks and other institutions has grown, suggesting that private lenders are becoming more willing to lend to these borrowers.  Between them the GSEs and bank portfolios now hold nearly 100 percent of the market compared to 77 percent in 2006.  Fannie Mae says one of the major reasons for this increase in market share is the exit of private label security (PLS) competitors from the larger playing field after the market collapse.

 

 

The boom years were good for second home mortgages which peaked at more than 15 times their 1998 volume during the housing bubble compared to around a 400 percent increase for other purchase mortgages.  However, the PLS share of second home originations, which was as high as 17 percent in 2006, has not rebounded as second home sales have recovered.

Fannie Mae says that geography played a role in both the decline and resurgence of the second home market.  Since January 1998, just over 1/3 of all second home mortgages have been originated on properties in Florida, California, and Arizona, three of the four states that then entered a multi-year foreclosure epidemic and witnessed huge price declines of over 40 percent each.  The only state with a larger price drop was Nevada, which was not a popular second home destination, accounting for only 2.5 percent of those mortgage originations from 1998 forward.  Those three Sunbelt states did not lose their popularity among second home buyers and accounted again for 34 percent of the second home mortgages originated in 2013.

While second home mortgages bubbled like all other purchase mortgages in the pre-2006 period, they did not perform as poorly as the others when the crisis hit.  While both first home and second home mortgages saw delinquencies trend upward in the years immediately after the bubble the second home purchase series outperformed the all other purchases series, indicating that second home borrowers have been better able to meet their mortgage obligations.

Fannie Mae noted many factors that will affect the future direction of second home purchases and second home mortgage originations.

  • Many buyers are affluent enough to pay cash and according to the NAR, between 2009 and 2013 an average of 38 percent of second home buyers did so. The remaining 62 percent who rely on a mortgage must have adequate income to qualify for those second home mortgage payments.
  • During the recovery housing wealth appreciation has lagged financial wealth. The recovery in financial markets has allowed many second home buyers, who are typically older and more likely to own financial assets, to sell some of their assets to buy second homes or use income from these assets to cover second home mortgage expenses. As shown in Exhibit E, older age cohorts, who are more likely to buy second homes, tend to own more financial assets.

  • The home price recovery rate in the three popular second home sites of Arizona, California, and Florida is another factor. The Federal Housing Finance Agency price indices comparing these three states to national averages show that two of the three have kept up with the national recovery, regaining about one third of their home price peak to trough losses but Florida lags far behind, having reclaimed only about 18 percent since bottoming out. Given this slow recovery and that Florida has accounted for the largest single share of second mortgage originations since 1998 (17 percent), home buyers have an opportunity to invest in Florida at bargain prices. That financial assets have recovered more quickly than home prices further increases this opportunity.
  • Yet another factor is the aging of the American population. The age group most likely to purchase a second home, those between 45 and 64 years of age, will grow at a slower rate than that of the total adult population between 2015 and 2060. Thus, while demand for second homes will continue to grow, it will likely occupy a smaller portion of the total purchase market. However, assuming that Americans continue existing investment patterns as they age and that aspirations of second home ownership do not wane, second homes should still occupy a significant place in the residential real estate market.

Fannie Mae concludes that although the second home mortgage market was also hit hard by the housing downturn, Americans still want to buy second homes and have contributed to the growth of the market consistently since its bottom in 2009.  The GSEs acquired roughly 60 percent of second home mortgage origination volume in 2013 and, barring rapid resurgence in PLS lending, should continue to be major players in the second home mortgage market.  “As the population continues to age, we expect people to continue to use their savings to buy second homes, thereby contributing to a segment of the mortgage market that will continue to grow in the years to come.”

Full Work Week and Rate Rally Boost Mortgage Apps

 

Mar 5 2014, 8:45AM

The volume of mortgage applications increased during the week ended February 28 for the first time since late January.  This good news was muted slightly by the fact that the previous week had been a holiday for many with government offices and schools closed.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index increased 9.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week ended February 21 and 11 percent on an unadjusted basis.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was 9 percent higher than the previous week but MBA noted that week was not adjusted to account for the President’s Day holiday.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index during the most recent week was 6 percent above the level during the last non-holiday week which ended February 14.  The unadjusted Purchase Index was 19 percent lower than during the same week in 2013.

Purchase Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

The Refinance Index was up 10 percent from the holiday week but was 3 percent lower than two weeks earlier.  Refinancing had a market share of 57.7 percent compared to 58 percent the previous week, the lowest since last September.

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed

Both average contract and effective rates decreased last week for all mortgage products.  The average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) with a conforming loan balance of $417,000 or less decreased to 4.47 percent with 0.28 point.  The previous week the rate was 4.53 percent with 0.31 point.

Jumbo 30-year FRM (loan balances in excess of $417,000) had an average rate of 4.37 percent, 10 basis points below the average rate the previous week.  Points increased to 0.20 from 0.13.

Thirty-year FRM carrying FHA guarantees had an average rate of 4.13 percent with 0.13 point.  The previous week the average rate was 4.17 percent with 0.20 point.

The rate for 15-year FRM was 3.52 percent, down 4 basis points from the previous week.  Points decreased to 0.18 from 0.28.

Adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) held at an 8 percent share of mortgage applications for the fifth straight week.  The contract rate for the most widely offered ARM, the 5/1 hybrid, was 3.09 percent with 0.38 point.  The rate the previous week was 3.17 percent with 0.31 point.

MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Application Survey has been conducted since 1990.  It surveys mortgage bankers, commercial banks, and thrifts and covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.  Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990.  Interest rates are quoted for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans and points include the origination fee.


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