Refis Fall, While Purchase Loans Surge Over Thanksgiving Holiday

Mortgage Weekly Update

Mortgage applications dropped this week, though only slightly. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinance applications dipped 5% for the week, while purchase activity rose 9%. Both remain higher than last year’s numbers (by 102% and 28%, respectively). 

Here’s what Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, had to say about it: “After adjusting for the Thanksgiving holiday, mortgage applications were mixed, with a jump in purchase applications and a decline in refinances. Purchase activity continued to show impressive year-over-year gains, with both the conventional and government segments of the market posting another week of growth.”

Also of note? That’d be rising purchase loan amounts, which averaged $375,000 last week — the highest level on MBA’s record. 

“Housing demand remains strong, and despite extremely tight inventory and rising prices, home sales are running at their strongest pace in over a decade,” Kan said. “The sustained period of low mortgage rates continues to spark borrower demand, and the mortgage industry is poised for its strongest year in originations since 2003.”

Though refinances technically fell for the week, they still amounted to nearly 70% of all mortgage activity. 

“The ongoing refinance wave has been beneficial to homeowners looking to lower their monthly payments during these challenging economic times brought forth by the pandemic,” Kan said.

More in mortgage and housing news

  • The share of loans in forbearance increased yet again. According to MBA, 5.54% of all mortgage loans are now in forbearance — up from 5.48% last week. An estimated 2.8 million homeowners are currently on a forbearance plan.
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that conforming loan limits will increase in 2021. The new limits will be $548,250 (baseline) and $822,375 (in high-cost markets). The previous limits were $510,400 and $765,600.
  • A new report from shows foreclosure volume is rebounding. Demand for these properties is also heating up. According to the data, bidders per property are now at an eight-year high.

This week in mortgage rates

Mortgage rates either held steady or rose ever so slightly on all mortgage products this week.

Here’s how rates looked for each loan type:

  • Conforming 30-year, fixed-rate loans: 2.92%, 0.31 points
  • Jumbo 30-year, fixed-rate loans: 3.19%, 0.30 points
  • FHA 30-year, fixed-rate loans: 3.00%, 0.34 points
  • 15-year, fixed-rate loans: 2.53%, 0.27 points
  • 5/1 adjustable-rate loans: 2.63%, 0.47 points

Make sure to check back here next week for the latest news on interest rates.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.