Here’s why new home sales are up along with prices

Here’s why new home sales are up along with prices
Today new home sales beat estimates, and new home median sales prices hit an all-time high. What is going on here? My job is always to be the detective, not the troll so let’s take a look at today’s data, as there is a constant theme here that I have talked about for some time. Hopefully, I can make sense of this report, which showed the home sales beat estimates with prices still at all-time highs.

From Census: New Home Sales Sales of new single-family houses in October 2022 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 632,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 7.5 percent (±20.8 percent)* above the revised September rate of 588,000, but is 5.8 percent (±19.6 percent)* below the October 2021 estimate of 671,000

New home sales haven’t gone anywhere for a few months now, and this report also had negative revisions to the prior reports. The cancellation rates are rising, this is true, but the Census reports don’t properly account for those sales being lost. In theory, the sales levels are lower than the data will show.

Also, these reports are very wild month to month, so we can get a swing back lower in next month’s report. However, with all that said, new home sales are historically low today and have been for some time. We are well below the 2000 recession level and back to 1996 levels.

When you account for a population of over 330 million people, that sales number looks a lot lower than in 2000 and 1996 so be mindful that we are trending at low levels today.While the actual sales trends can be more downward than the report shows, it’s not off by a significant amount. We are, for now, bouncing off the bottom that we had back in 2018, which was historically low as well.

In 2005, when the housing bubble peaked in sales at around 1.4 million, we had a clear, aggressive downtrend in sales with cancellation rates rising aggressively. Today we are finding a low base for now, because new home sales are historically low. I would be careful reading too much into this report or even the current trend. The housing market has been in a recession since June of this year, and we have other data lines that can be more useful in gauging the new home sales sector.

From Census: For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of October was 470,000. This represents a supply of 8.9 months at the current sales rate.

My rule of thumb for anticipating builder behavior is based on the three-month supply average. This also has nothing to do with the existing home sales market; this monthly supply data is only for the new home sales market.

When supply is 4.3 months, and below, this is an excellent market for builders.When supply is 4.4 to 6.4 months, this is an OK market for the builders. They will build as long as new home sales are growing.The builders will pull back on construction when the supply is 6.5 months and above.

The existing home sales market has 3.3 months of supply, so we have had a historical gap between new and existing monthly supply for some time now. However, since I started my housing economic work, this has been my rule of thumb: The three-month average of monthly supply in the chart above is running at 8.6 months, and the monthly supply headline number did fall for the previous report. This data line has always been key to my work, which has run well with the builder’s confidence data that has gone into waterfall collapse mode, as you can see below. This data line is considered positive when it’s above 50 and currently at 33.We are still in housing recession land as the builders still have a lot of new construction homes and haven’t started yet to build.For the builders, 61,000 new homes are completed for sale, amounting to 1.2 months of the supply, and 298,000 new homes are still under construction, while 111,000 haven’t started. The last two data lines account for 7.7 months left in the data.So as you can see, we have a lot of homes that aren’t on the market from the 8.9 months of the supply.  We can see why the builders are done building new single-family houses as they have a lot of work left to do ( Article Link).From Census: Sales Price The median sales price of new houses sold in October 2022 was $493,000.  The average sales price was $544,000.  This part of the new home sales data has confused many people per the last few reports because it is true we have hit an all-time high in median sales prices for new homes. Over the past month of social media, I have tried to convey this message about using median sales price data for the new home sales market. This data line can move highly one way or another based on the mix sale shift of prices. This means that getting a report that has an outsized of bigger homes sold can tilt the data aggressively higher.

Earlier in the year, when we saw a more significant percentage dip in median sales prices, this was due to having more smaller-sized homes in the sales mix. Just know that median sales price data always need to be taken with a grain of salt.

Another housing data line reported today was purchase application data, which scored its third straight week of growth, coming in at 3% week over week. That data is still down 41% year over year, but as I’ve said for many months now, the year-over-year comps were going to be very difficult starting from October to January. This means we should expect 35%-45% year-over-year declines to be the norm. Right on schedule, since October we have seen year over year declines range between 39%-46%.

The last time we had three straight weeks of growth in purchase apps was the middle part of June. I caution that we are working from historically low levels, so the bar is low, but after three weeks of growth — and seeing the year-over-year decline become less — this is something worth noting. We will continue to keep an eye on this, especially if mortgage rates head lower.

I understand that the new home sales reports have been confusing at times this year but remember that the trend is your friend. We are working from historically low sales levels, and the builders are pulling out all the stops to sell what homes they can while rates are high.

The new home sales sector improved significantly when mortgage rates dropped to 5%. However, for now, the monthly supply levels are still too high for the builders to start new construction, and we can see they have a lot of work to do with homes still under construction.

With purchase application data showing some life now after mortgage rates have dropped, 2023 is shaping up to be very interesting. For now, I hope you can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with your family and eat well!

Buydowns become key for buyers to beat the market

Buydowns become key for buyers to beat the market
It’s a terrible time for homebuyers. Mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed-rate loan are hovering around 7% levels and still-high home prices are slashing purchasing power.

What helped Erica Davis, a loan originator at Guild Mortgage, in the current high-rate environment is a seller-funded temporary 2-1 rate buydown. By taking advantage of the 2-1 temporary rate buydown, Davis was able to lower her 7.25% mortgage rate by 2% in the first year and by 1.5% in the second year. 

The seller, who struggled to find a buyer in a cooled down housing market, agreed to deposit a lump sum payment into an escrow account at closing – ultimately saving Davis $6,900 in monthly payments in the first two years. 

“Absolutely I’m going to refinance when the rates go down, and that’s why I decided on a 2-1 rate buydown,” Davis said. “It helps to have that lower payment, and the extra cash flow gives you a little more flexibility, so you’re not so budget-tight.” 

In a high-rate environment, lenders call the temporary rate buydown a win-win strategy for both sellers and buyers when used appropriately. Despite homeowners being disincentivized to give up their low mortgage rates and move, buyers are still out there, and the silver lining for buyers is softened competition compared to the red-hot housing market from the past two years. 

“As rates increase and housing prices correct in 2023, sellers will want to take advantage of improving their chances to do business with an excited buyer who can obtain a lower than market rate with seller participation,” Jeff Miller, vice president of Pacific Northwest at Churchill Mortgage, said.

Sellers, including homebuilders, can also gain a competitive edge by being flexible in terms of offering credits or concessions, like temporary rate buydowns, an attractive option that gives borrowers a reprieve to combat the housing affordability challenge. 

“If the process is explained correctly to both parties, sellers and buyers will enjoy seeing each other win and accomplish the goals each party has,” Miller said. “It gives the buyer and seller the feeling of beating the mutual enemy, ‘the market,’ and gaming the system.”

Lenders seize opportunity for lost volume

With the mortgage market rapidly shrinking – some experts believe it might contract to just $1.3 trillion in origination volume in 2023 – numerous lenders have rolled out the option of temporary buydowns and have joined in providing concessions to buyers to help compensate for lost origination volume.

United Wholesale Mortgage, the country’s largest mortgage originator, most recently expanded buydown options to include a lender-paid version, in addition to the seller-paid one. The wholesaler was among the first to offer 2-1 and 1-0 temporary buydowns, which are not new products but haven’t been used much over the last decade. 

“Absolutely I’m going to refinance when the rates go down, and that’s why I decided on a 2-1 rate buydown.”Erica Davis, Guild Mortgage loan originator and home buyer

Rocket Mortgage has also launched a lender-funded 1-0 rate buydown, dubbed the “inflation buster” program, as well as a seller- or real estate agent-funded 1-0 rate buydown from its wholesale arm Rocket Pro TPO. 

“Temporary rate buydowns are a great tool for brokers and realtors to have in a rising rate environment,” a spokesperson at UWM said.

The Michigan lender said they’re “getting a lot of traction,” but said it wasn’t able to provide data given that temporary rate buydown options to borrowers are “so new.”

loanDepot, Guild Mortgage and NewRez are also among the lenders that either cover the difference in mortgage payments or offer the option of a seller or builder-paid temporary rate buydowns.

From the investor’s perspective, a 30-year fixed-rate conventional loan or a mortgage locked down with a temporary rate buydown will carry the same risk. The payment the lender receives is always the same, as the seller funds the escrow account to make up the difference for the lender. 

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require the lender selling it to underwrite the borrower at the undiscounted note rate, so there is no worries about teaser mortgages that reset at higher rates,” said Peter Idziak, senior associate attorney at Polunsky Beitel Green.

Not a one-size fits all scenario

Depending on the market, LOs say they’ve seen as little as 10% of their total loans closed with temporary rate buydowns — or as high as 60%.

It’s not a one-size fits all scenario and is dependent on borrowers’ situation.

Borrowers who would benefit from a temporary rate buydown are those who are getting into the market and plan on hanging onto the property for two to three years before moving up to a different type of property, Trudy Kelly, a senior loan officer at Churchill Mortgage, said.

Borrowers who plan on having the property long term will have to stomach the higher rate when the temporary buydown ends and the rate reverts to the original quoted rate.

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require the lender selling it to underwrite the borrower at the undiscounted note rate, so there is no worries about teaser mortgages that reset at higher rates. “Peter Idziak, senior associate attorney at Polunsky Beitel Green

“If for some reason interest rates don’t drop in the span of 24 months from closing, then they won’t have that ability to refinance that into a lower rate and… reduce the payment for the life of the loan,” Kelly said.

Borrowers with enough cash, for instance, could consider an all-cash offer, could throw more at the down payment to reduce the amount of the mortgage or choose a permanent rate buydown. Often called “buying points,” the borrower could reduce the interest rate, resulting in greater savings over the life of the loan.

For buyers who may be moving out of the home within 10 years, an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) — which offers a reduced fixed rate for typically 5, 7, or 10 years, after which the rate resets to current market rates – could be an option, depending on how attractive ARM rates are. 

A 5/1 ARM on Nov. 22 was 6.24% while a 30-year fixed-rate was 6.64%, according to Mortgage News Daily.

Thinking outside the box

Every buyer has unique financial circumstances, and that’s why educating LOs on temporary rate buydowns has become crucial for lenders, Blake Bianchi, founder and CEO of Future Mortgage, said. The buydown option is not a new concept, but for loan officers who joined the refi boom, it’s a new concept they need to learn. 

“As a LO, you should be knowledgeable about temporary rate buydowns because it’s making up a majority of the loans now in this market,” Bianchi said. Bianchi, who leads a mortgage brokerage of 12 loan officers, forecasts about 60% of their loans in November to close with a temporary rate buydown, up from last month’s 50%. 

“If for some reason interest rates don’t drop in the span of 24 months from closing, then they won’t have that ability to refinance that into a lower rate and… reduce the payment for the life of the loan.”Trudy Kelly, senior loan officer at Churchill Mortgage

After seeing purchase contracts getting closed with seller credits and builders offering concessions, Bianchi saw potential benefits in offering temporary rate buydown options for borrowers. It’s been about three months since Bianchi started training LOs on what a temporary rate buydown and a permanent rate buydown (buying points) is to help them better educate the clients. 

“We don’t want LOs convincing clients that rates are going to be low for three years, for example, and not have clients be able to afford payments after that. It does take education from LOs to clients as well setting realistic expectations,” he said. 

It’s about getting creative and thinking about whether there is negotiation power for borrowers, said Churchill Mortgage’s Kelly in regard to helping clients find ways to lower their monthly mortgage payments.

Kelly recently helped a client run through a scenario of getting a $15,000 seller concession to fund their 1-0 temporary rate buydown rather than asking the seller to lower the listing price. Her client closed on the house and will be saving $341 every month for the first year.

“There’s a few that have pushed the pause button because they’re priced out of the market with interest rates rising. There are stalemates from one neighborhood to the next, which has forced us to think outside the box for our clients,” Kelly said.

Mortgage rates dropped again, so why are some borrowers on the sidelines?

Mortgage rates dropped again, so why are some borrowers on the sidelines?
Recent declines in mortgage rates, which are due to a slowdown in inflation growth, have been enough to convince some borrowers to apply for new home loans, according to recent data on mortgage applications. 

However, there are still forces pushing many borrowers — mainly lower-income buyers — to stay on the sidelines, industry experts say. 

The latest weekly survey data from Freddie Mac shows the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slowed its downward trajectory this week, declining three basis points from last week to 6.41%. Rates averaged 3.10% at this time one year ago.

“Mortgage rates continued to tick down heading into the Thanksgiving holiday,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement. “In recent weeks, rates have hit above 7% only to drop by almost half a percentage point.” 

Other indexes show rates are slowly declining as well.

On HousingWire’s Mortgage Rates Center, Black Knight’s Optimal Blue OBMMI pricing engine measured the 30-year conforming rate at 6.58% on Tuesday, down from 6.62% the previous week. Meanwhile, the 30-year fixed-rate jumbo (greater than $647,200) went from 6.72% to 6.63% in the same period, according to the data. 

Mortgage rates differed slightly on other platforms, and were 6.65% for conforming loans at Mortgage News Daily on Tuesday. 

Is it “now or never?” 

As mortgage rates remain below 7%, some buyers are thinking “it’s now or never” if they want to buy this year, Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist at Bright MLS, said in a statement. 

“So, while the typical monthly payment is still nearly 60% higher than it was a year ago, buyers have begun to accept the new market environment and could be grateful for a little relief on rates,” Sturtevant said.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s data this week showed an increase in the demand for mortgage loans. The market composite index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, rose 2.2% for the week ending November 18 after registering a 2.7% increase the previous week. Compared to the same week in 2021, however, the index fell by 67.8%.   

“Following generally higher mortgage rates throughout the course of 2022, the recent swing in buyers’ favor is welcome and could save the buyer of a median-priced home listing more than $100 per month relative to what they would have paid when rates were above 7% just two weeks ago,” Danielle Hale, chief economist at, said in a statement.  

Hale added that with mortgage rates averaging nearly three times higher than in a typical year, many potential shoppers have pulled back.

“A long-term housing shortage is keeping home prices high, even as the number of homes on the market for sale has increased, and buyers and sellers may find it more challenging to align expectations on price,” Hale said. “A cooling rental market, in which rent growth is moving back toward historical norms, may offer hesitant home buyers a refuge from which to regroup and perhaps reevaluate their plans in the new year.”

Holden Lewis, home and mortgage expert at NerdWallet, said this year’s steep rise in mortgage rates had a notable impact on middle-class home buyers. 

“Existing home sales were down 28% in the 12 months ending in October, and new home sales are skewing toward higher-income buyers. In October, 48% of new homes sold for $500,000 or more; a year earlier, the figure was 33%,” Lewis said in a statement.

What’s next for mortgage rates? 

Mortgage rates reflect the Federal Reserve’s ongoing increases in federal funds rate to tame inflation, and so far, it appears to be working. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that the consumer price index (CPI) rose 7.7% year over year in October, marking the smallest 12-month increase since the year ending in January 2022. 

But Fed chairman Jerome Powell noted in November the need for ongoing hikes in the federal funds rate, Hale said, and several Fed speakers have reiterated this position. 

“This could mean that mortgage rates may climb again, and that risk goes up if next month’s inflation reading comes in on the higher side,” Hale said.

Mortgage rate volatility makes it difficult for potential homebuyers to know when to get into the market, according to Khater. 

“That is reflected in the latest data, which shows existing home sales slowing across all price points,” Khater said. 

Nonbank lender job cuts could shorten the market downturn

Nonbank lender job cuts could shorten the market downturn
The current market downturn for mortgage lenders may be shorter than the previous cycles, mainly due to the recent rounds of workforce layoffs imposed by nonbanks.

“While it is true that many nonbanks entered this downturn with a large war chest of cash and capital, this is more than offset by the impact of warehouse and investor covenants, which are causing lenders to move expeditiously to cut costs,” Jim Cameron, Stratmor Group’s senior partner, wrote in a report published this week. “In short, while this downturn is very painful, perhaps we will get through it faster.” 

Nonbanks have more than 60% market share of mortgage industry production — and they are more likely than banks to move quickly to reduce capacity. Based on recent data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and Stratmor, Cameron said nonbank turnover rates for processors, underwriters and closers were typically in the range of 35% to 50% in the first half of 2022, compared to 18% to 22% for banks.  

According to Cameron, the recent downturn has delivered the biggest and fastest rate increase in modern history — and the sharpest volume and revenue decrease the mortgage business has ever seen. 

So far, the shrinking market has caused the total production revenue of mortgage companies to decline by 2.7% quarter over quarter and 18% year over year, to 396 basis points in the third quarter, according to a report from a group of analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc.

Looking forward, the analysts say that industry profitability will likely remain challenged, with seasonal weakness in the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. According to the analysts, the recovery, which will take time, will depend on the pace at which the industry is willing and able to cut capacity. 

Cutting capacity 

This week’s round of layoffs includes mainly nonbank lenders. 

Home Point Financial Corporation, the parent company of the pure wholesale lender Homepoint, cut about 100 employees in four states on November 17, according to WARN notices filed by the company. 

Lender roadmap: Driving success in a difficult market

Download this white paper for a roadmap to deploying new technologies. Readers will discover how to identify and align on business goals to determine where technology can act as a true solution and not a Band-Aid to a deeper issue in their lending process.

Presented by: Polly

The company sent pink slips to 49 staff members in Texas, 30 in Michigan and 10 in Florida. There’s no WARN Notice made public in Arizona, but the company has confirmed a document was filed with the state employment department. 

“I can confirm that we had done some reductions last week and filed WARN notices in four states, and it impacted about 100 people in total,” a spokesperson for the company wrote in an email to Housingwire. 

In Florida, where the WARN Notice brings more details, the company cut job positions related to the origination, such as a document coordinator and two senior loan coordinators. Funding staff members, including a warehouse funder and a warehouse specialist, were also laid off. 

None of the employees are represented by a union, and the layoffs included both remote and in-person employees. 

The latest layoffs are in addition to the 913 Home Point employees cut in early September. In total, Home Point has shrunk its workforce from about 4,000 workers in the summer of 2021 to about 1,000 in the fall of 2022.Over the last year, it has also sold off large chunks of the business – including sub-servicing with ServiceMac and delegated correspondent to Planet Home Lending – which accounts for several thousand workers transitioning to new firms.

Illinois-based Interfirst Mortgage, legally known as Chicago Mortgage Solutions LLC, issued pink slips to employees this month amid forecasts that housing sales are expected to slump even more next year than 2022. 

While Interfirst Mortgage has not responded to requests for comment, positions affected by the layoff included a closer, processor, business analyst and loan officers, according to former employees’ LinkedIn posts.

“As the mortgage industry has not been so favorable, another mortgage industry layoff occurred last week,” said a former employee on LinkedIn. “Unfortunately, I was one of those employees affected by the layoff along with some great colleagues and friends I met along the way.”

“The mortgage business is a cyclical one..We all knew this when we signed up,” wrote another former employee on the social media network. “I have worked for the same company for 27 years and hope to be back again perhaps in a different capacity.”

Founded in 2001 as a retail originator, Interfirst Mortgage expanded into wholesale in 2008 and added a correspondent channel in 2011. After origination volume plummeted nearly 86% to $2 billion in 2016 from $14.1 billion in 2012, the company decided to shutter its business in 2017. However, it relaunched three years later with a proprietary loan origination platform that allowed Interfirst to eliminate upfront fees and cut interest rates. 

It was last year that the company raised $175 million, led by StoicLane, to fund new technologies. Since relaunching operations, Interfirst also hired teachers and first responders to be loan officers. Instead of offering commission splits to LOs, they paid a salary between $44,000 and $68,000 annually.

The company has 30 active loan officers with four branches across the country, according to mortgage tech Modex. A snapshot of its operation offers an explanation of Intefirst’s struggling business. The lender originated a total volume of $953.2 million year-to-date, dropping from $2.14 billion in 2021. 

About 95% of its volume this year came from refis, and purchase origination accounted for less than 4%. Originations in October 2022 plummeted more than 95% year over year to $10.7 million. 

New home sales continued to yo-yo in October

New home sales continued to yo-yo in October
Homebuilders must be feeling some whiplash, as new single-family home sales continued to yo-yo in October. After rebounding in August from a drop in July only to fall again in September, new home sales were back up in October, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sales of new single-family homes in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 632,000, up 7.5% from September, but down 5.8% compared to a year ago.

“Builders are offering incentives from price cuts and rate buydowns to upgrades,” Odeta Kushi, First American‘s deputy chief economist, said in a statement. “This month’s higher new-home sales number indicates some demand elasticity in the market for new homes.”

As the sales pace sped up the median sale price rose, jumping from $460,600 in September to $493,000 in October.

“Median prices increased even though a quarter of builders are now cutting prices. The increase in new-home prices reflects a shift in the mix of homes being sold, with fewer homes sold at lower prices points, thus the median price escalated, as well as higher construction costs are being passed on to the consumer,” Kushi said. “One year ago, 18% of new-home sales were priced below $300,000. In October 2022, only 12% of new-home sales were priced below $300,000. Looking back to pre-pandemic levels in October 2019, it was 43%.”

In addition, the amount of inventory also dropped to 470,000 homes for sale or the equivalent of a supply of 8.9 months at the current sales pace, down from 9.2 months of supply in September.

How to stay competitive with specialty mortgage products heading into 2023

HousingWire recently spoke with Lee Smith and John Gibson at Flagstar Bank about what originators can do to align their products and services with the ebb and flow of the housing market.

Presented by: Flagstar

Regionally, new home sales were up month over month in October in the Northeast (45.7%) and the South (16.0%), but down in the Midwest (34.2%) and the West (0.8%). Year over year, new home sales were down in three out of four regions with the Midwest recording the largest annual decline at 26.5%, and the Northeast recording an annual sum of 59.4%.

Despite the nationwide uptick in new home sales in October, homebuilder confidence continues to slide, hitting its lowest level since June 2012 in November, with a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) reading of just 33.

“The October report surprised to the upside, but leading indicators — permits and builder confidence — indicate ongoing weakness,” Kushi said. “There is a large number of started, but not-yet-completed, homes in the pipeline, so prices will need to adjust to make new homes attractive enough to entice more buyers.”

Demand for mortgages is on the rise as rates fall

Demand for mortgages is on the rise as rates fall
With mortgage rates down nearly 50 basis points from the recent peak about a month ago, borrower demand picked up again this week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

The market composite index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, rose 2.2% for the week ending November 18 after registering a 2.7% increase in the previous week. Compared to the same week in 2021, however, the index fell 67.8%.  

Purchase applications were up 2.76% this week, compared to the previous week, but 41% down year over year. Meanwhile, the demand for refinance index, which dropped 86.2% year over year, increased 1.5% from the prior week.

“The decrease in mortgage rates should improve the purchasing power of prospective homebuyers, who have been largely sidelined as mortgage rates have more than doubled in the past year,” Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist, said in a statement. 

Mortgage rates, which were trending up with the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike, started to fall following lower-than-expected consumer price growth in October. The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 7.7% year over year, marking the smallest 12-month increase since the year ending in January 2022.

MBA estimates the average contract 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for conforming loans ($647,200 or less) fell to 6.67% from the previous week’s 6.90%. At its recent peak about a month ago, rates reached 7.16%.

Jumbo mortgage loans (greater than $647,200) this week also decreased to 6.30% from 6.51%, the MBA said. 

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased from 5.73% to 5.78% in the same period, reducing borrowers’ appetite for the product. ARM applications fell 15% compared to the previous week and 16.6% in comparison with the same period in 2021. 

“With the decline in rates, the ARM share of applications also decreased to 8.8% of loans last week, down from the range of 10% and 12% during the past two months,” according to Kan. 

The report shows the share of refinancings increased from 27.6% to 28.4% of the total applications this week. 

The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) share of total applications marginally decreased to 13.4% from 13.5% the week prior. The Veterans Affairs (V.A.) share of total applications fell to 10.5% from 10.6%, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) share remained unchanged at 0.6%. 

The survey, conducted weekly since 1990, covers 75% of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.