Mortgage Applications Drop to Lowest Level Since 1995


Key Takeaways

  • The 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased for the sixth week to 7.70%, causing a drop in mortgage applications to the lowest level since 1995.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of home financing activity was 9.3% for the latest week, the highest it’s reached in 11 months.
  • Hefty mortgage rates discourage refinancing as well as new mortgage origination.

Mortgage applications hit their lowest level in nearly three decades as interest rates rose to their highest level in nearly as many years.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released Wednesday showed a 6.9% decline on a seasonally adjusted basis from a week earlier, while the unadjusted version of that reading of mortgage loan application volume decreased 7% from the previous week.

The report also showed that the portion of home purchases financed with an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) reached 9.3%, the highest share in 11 months, as some borrowers look for alternative ways to lower their monthly payments.

Refinance activity in the latest week was at its lowest level since early 2023 because there is limited incentive to refinance with mortgage rates at multi-decade highs. Most current homeowners are “locked-in” to mortgage rates that are far lower than those currently being offered.

Building Permits Also Dropped

The number of building permits, a good indicator of future home construction was down this month amid faltering homebuilder confidence.

Building permits fell 4.4% from the month prior to 1.47 million, according to a report from the Census Bureau Wednesday. However, that number was slightly more than economists had expected.

With few existing homes on the market, new homes have been one way to fill the gap. However, high interest rates have builders pessimistic about the near-term outlook of the market. In October, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey showed builders now have the lowest sentiment level in nine months.

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