COVID-19 Outbreak Now Impacting U.S. Mortgage Industry

According to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 27, 2020, U.S. mortgage applications increased 15.3 percent from one week earlier. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 15.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 15 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 26 percent from the previous week and was 168 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 11 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 10 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent lower than the same week one year ago. Mortgage rates and applications continue to experience significant volatility from the economic and financial market uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis. After two weeks of sizeable increases, mortgage rates dropped back to the lowest level in MBA's survey, which in turn led to a 25 percent jump in refinance applications," said Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "The bleaker economic outlook, along with the first wave of realized job losses reported in last week's unemployment claims numbers, likely caused potential homebuyers to pull back. Purchase applications were down over 10 percent, and after double-digit annual growth to start 2020, activity has fallen off last year's pace for two straight weeks.

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