Mortgage Apps Crash Most Since 2009 (Covid-19 Lockdown Edition)

(Bloomberg) — U.S. loan applications for buying and refinancing homes plunged last week by the most since the global financial crisis, amid coronavirus shutdowns and related financial turmoil that pushed borrowing costs higher.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of applications fell 29.4% in the week ended March 20, the biggest decline since early 2009. Home-purchase applications dropped by 14.6% while refinancing applications plummeted 33.8%.

The average contract rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage increased 8 basis points to a two-month high of 3.82%, despite the Federal Reserve cutting the benchmark interest rate to near zero.

The decline in applications is an early sign suggesting home sales will slow and that refinancings are coming off a spike. That follows other data indicating a precipitous dropoff in business activity this month as stores and schools shutter to prevent the spread of the virus.

Yes, MBA mortgage applications fell the most since 2009 and the financial crisis.

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Mortgage rates actually rose last week (yellow line) but will likely decline this week.

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The biggest decline came in mortgage refinancing applications, down 33% WoW.

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Mortgage purchase applications dropped 14.64% WoW.

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Housing and COVID-19 (Existing Home Sales Rise 6.5% In February) -30% Likely In March 😩

The US housing and residential mortgage market have benefitted from the dreaded COVID-19 virus … in the sense that the 10-year Treasury yield and contemporaneous mortgage rates (30-year) have fallen since September 2019 (pre-COVID-19 breakout).

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But the recent EHS numbers are for February (+6.5% MoM), not March. Expect around a 30% decline in existing home sales for March.

Here is a Washington DC area Realtor in action!

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