Weekly Mortgage Application Survey
What is the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey?
Key points to remember
- The Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey is conducted weekly by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to aggregate and analyze mortgage applications in the United States.
- Each week, the MBA draws on the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey to publish reports and commentary on the state of real estate financing, including new home purchases, refinancing, and mortgages.
- The Weekly Applications Survey has been around since 1990 and, since its inception, its indices have been leading indicators in the housing and mortgage finance industries.
Understanding the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey
Each week, the MBA draws on the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey to publish reports and commentary on the state of real estate financing, including new home purchases, refinancing, and mortgages. The weekly reports include clues tracking changes in fixed rate, adjustable, conventional and government loans and refinances.
It is important to note that the Weekly Mortgage Survey primarily tracks data on mortgage applications submitted each week, as opposed to mortgage applications that close.
Since the launch of the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey in 1990, its indices have served as a the main indicators in the housing and mortgage financing sectors. While most stakeholders interested in the trends plotted by the Weekly Application Survey can focus on recent trends and near-term forecasts, the available data also provides historical insights into macro-trends in these industries. .
While the Weekly Claims Survey has only been operational since 1990, the Mortgage Bankers Association has been in existence since 1914. Originally known as the Farm Mortgage Bankers Association of America, the organization has come together to provide loans for agricultural land. In 1926, the organization changed its name to Mortgage Bankers Association of America.
While anyone working in the real estate finance industry is eligible, members of the MBA are largely made up of independent mortgage banks. The rest of the membership includes commercial and community banks, credit unions, mortgage agents, insurance and securities companies, and more. The weekly application survey consolidates data reported by members for its weekly reports.
Weekly Mortgage Application Survey and Indices
Every Wednesday, the MBA publishes the results of the previous week’s survey along with benchmarking data to chart market trends. Real estate market players pay particular attention to two of these indices: the MBA Refinance Index and the MBA Purchase Index.
The MBA refinancing index tracks the number of refinancing requests submitted, reporting the week’s total as well as the percentage change from the previous week and the four-week moving average of the index.
This tool can be useful in forecasting mortgage activity. Some analysts seek to refinance the data to predict other forms of consumer spending, while mortgage investors look to this index for trends that will affect them, especially since a wave of refinancing can reduce payments to mortgage investors over time.
Likewise, the MBA Purchase Index counts the number of new mortgage applications submitted each week. These figures are useful to builders and developers in planning the construction of new homes. Mortgage investors can also look to this index for market trend indicators, such as mortgage prepayments.