Mortgage Apps Soar to Record High for Third Week

March 21, 2019

Mortgage applications set a record for the third consecutive week as lower rates drew out more refinancers and home buyers, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted application index.

Total mortgage application volume rose 1.6 percent last week compared to the previous week, and applications are now 1.8 percent higher than a year ago, according to the MBA. Many of those gains have come from refinancers, but more purchase applications are also appearing. Purchase applications are 1 percent higher than a year ago.

Rates are lower than a year ago. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.55 percent last week compared to 4.64 percent the previous week. That is the lowest rate since February 2018, the MBA reports.

The wealthy are largely being lured to the housing market. The average loan size also set a record for the third straight week, reaching $327,500, the MBA reports. The median price of a home sold in January was $247,500, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

“Entry-level housing supply remains weak and is likely hindering some would-be first-time buyers from finding a home,” said Joel Kan, the MBA’s associate vice president to economic and industry forecasting. “This, along with faster growth in the higher price tiers, is why the average loan application size has risen to a new high for three straight weeks.”