Mortgage Bankers Weekly Update: Mortgage Applications Increase

Market Composite Index: (loan application volume) increased 13.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 13.9 percent compared with the previous week.
Treasury rates fell last week causing a decline in mortgage rates. As a result, refinance applications picked up over the week, as some borrowers took advantage of this recent rate volatility to lock in a low fixed-rate loan said Michael Fratantoni, MBA Vice President of Research and Economics.

Refinance Index: increased 15.8 percent from the previous week and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 10.1 percent from one week earlier.

Purchase Index: increased 11.0 percent compared with the previous week and was 5.2 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

Refinance Share of Mortgage Activity: increased to 60.0 percent of total applications from 58.9 percent the previous week.

Arm Share: decreased to 6.0 percent from 6.3 percent of total applications from the previous week.

MBA outlook: (Excerpted from

Economic growth and a recovering job market are good news for housing, but we certainly have not seen any significant improvement in housing activity to date. Existing home sales declined in February, and new home sales actually reached a new record low that month. Additionally, the number of existing homes on the market increased, as sellers began to list their properties in anticipation of the spring. Rising inventories on top of weak demand continues to put pressure on prices, with most measures showing either declines or weak gains over the winter.

Fourth quarter real GDP growth was revised down a bit to a 5.6% annual rate, a revision too small to be significant. Data coming in during the past month suggest a real GDP growth rate of around 3% or a little less in the first quarter of 2010, well below the fourth quarter pace. The outlook for inflation remains unusually favorable. During the past year, both headline and core inflation rates have fallen.

The dramatic turnaround in the economy during the past year, from a 5.4% annual rate of decline in real GDP in the fourth quarter of 2009 to a 5.6% increase a year later, attests to the remarkable resiliency of the U.S. economy to withstand shocks.

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