Daily Economic Update: Mortgage Purchase Applications

Each day the Research staff takes a look at recently released economic indicators, addressing what these indicators mean for REALTORS® and their clients. Today’s update highlights mortgage purchase applications.


  • Mortgage purchase applications fell 7.5 percent for the week ending March 25th, on the heels of interest rate increases. Purchase applications are a leading indicator of home sales.
  • However, purchase applications do not always translate into loan acceptances and transactions.  In addition, the purchase applications figure is impacted by the rising number of cash buyers.  According to the February REALTORS® Confidence Index, cash buyers accounted for 33 percent of transactions.
  • Mortgage purchase applications were down 21.9 percent from the same week a year ago. Mortgage rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 4.81 percent, leading to a 10.1 percent drop in refinances.
  • The ADP employment survey reported an increase of 201,000 in the number of private-sector jobs from February to March. The large gain points to a likely positive change in Friday’s upcoming official employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

George Ratiu, Director, Quantitative and Commercial Research

George Ratiu, Research Economist, writes regular economic columns and conducts research in the areas of commercial real estate, international investments, mortgage performance and foreclosures. He produces NAR’s Commercial Real Estate Outlook and manages quantitative surveys, including the Commercial Real Estate Quarterly Market Survey.

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