Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – March 25 2009

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages, 1 year ARMs as well as application volume for both purchase and refinance applications.

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases.

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage decreased a whopping 26 basis points since last week to 4.63% while the purchase application volume increased just 4.16% and the refinance application volume jumped 41.48% compared to last week’s results.

It’s important to recognize that the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” measures have clearly pushed mortgage rates down spurring increased re-finance activity yet the rate reductions have yet to impact purchase activity, arguably the more important goal.

The following chart shows how the principle and interest cost and estimated annual income required to cover the PITI (using the 29% “rule of thumb”) on a $400,000 loan has changed since November 2006.

The following chart shows the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages over the last number of weeks (click for larger version).

The following charts show the Purchase Index, Refinance Index and Market Composite Index since November 2006 (click for larger versions).