The average contract interest rate just set a new record for 30-year fixed rate mortgages at 4.05%.

Average Interest Rate Jumped from 3.83% to 4.05% in Mid-February

Even before the March meeting of the Federal Reserve when the central bank will likely announce a formal rate hike to stall inflation, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of $647,200 or less climbed from 3.83% to 4.05%

This mid-February interest rate increase came amid a time of pricier than ever home prices that make homebuying even more expensive and home mortgages even larger than ever.


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Average Size of Purchase Loan Application Set Record in Mid-February

The combination of ever-increasing home prices and rising interest rates drove the average purchase loan size to a record $453,000 in mid-February, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).  Joel Kan, an MBA economist, said, “Prospective buyers still face elevated sales prices in addition to higher mortgage rates.  The heavier mix of conventional applications again contributed to another record average loan size at $453,00.”

Due to this double whammy of increasing home prices (+18.8% y/y in December, according to the most recent report from CoreLogic) and increasing mortgage loan rates, Kan said, “Purchase applications saw a modest decline over the week.”

Continuing, Kan said, “Mortgage rates increased across the board last week following the recent rise in Treasury yields, which have moved higher due to unrelenting inflationary pressures and increased market expectations of more aggressive policy moves by the Federal Reserve.”

Purchase applications declined slightly by -1% over the week and -7% y/y for the same week in 2021.

Refinance Demand Dramatically Down

Refinance demand has declined as mortgage rates have climbed over the past several months.

According to the MBA, refinance application volume dropped -9% for the week and was down -54% for the same week a year ago.  The overall refinance share of total mortgage applications dropped from 56.2% the week before to 52.8%.  This 52.8% share of total mortgage applications hit the lowest level since July 2019.

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