There was a 1.7% uptick in mortgage applications for the week ending Oct. 23, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Market Composite Index was 1.7% higher than the week before. Unadjusted, the index grew 2% week over week.

“Mortgage applications to buy a home were flat compared to the prior week, but overall activity remains strong this fall,” said Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting at MBA. “Applications jumped 24% compared to last year, and the average loan size reached another record high at $372,600. These results highlight just how strong the upper end of the market is right now, with outsized growth rates in the higher loan size categories. Furthermore, housing inventory shortages have pushed national home prices considerably higher on an annual basis.”

The refinance index saw a 3% week-over-week gain and was 80% higher than the same week a year ago. The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased by 0.2%, while the unadjusted index decreased by 0.3% compared with the previous week and was 24% higher than the same week in 2019.   

Refinance activity has been somewhat volatile over the past few months but did increase almost 3% last week,” Kan said. “With the 30-year fixed rate at MBA’s all-time survey low of 3%, conventional refinances rose 5%. However, the government refinance index decreased for the first time in a month, driven by a slowdown in VA refinance activity.”    

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 66.7% of total applications, up from 66.1%. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 2.1% of total applications.   

The FHA share of total applications decreased from 11.8% to 11.7%. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.4% from 12.6% the week prior. The USDA share of total applications held steady at 0.5%.