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MBA Forecast Calls for Higher Home Prices and Mortgage Rates

According to the new MBA Purchase Applications Payment Index (PAPI), homebuyer affordability declined in March, with the national median payment applied for by applicants rising 5% to $1,736 from $1,653 in February.

An increase in MBA’s PAPI – indicative of declining borrower affordability conditions – means that the mortgage payment to income ratio (PIR) is higher due to increasing application loan amounts, rising mortgage rates, or a decrease in earnings. A decrease in the PAPI occurs when loan application amounts decrease, mortgage rates decrease, or earnings increase.

“The start of the spring homebuying season is off to a mixed start," said Edward Seiler, MBA's Associate VP of Housing Economics, and Executive Director, Research Institute for Housing America. "The healthy labor market and robust wage gains fueled demand throughout the country in March, but rapid home-price growth and the 42-basis-point surge in mortgage rates last month slowed purchase application activity. A typical borrower’s principal and interest payment was $387 more than in March 2021. Swift price-appreciation, sky-high inflation, low inventory, and mortgage rates now two percentage points higher than last year are all headwinds for the housing market in the coming months – especially for first-time buyers.”

The national PAPI increased 5% to 150.9 in March from 143.7 in February, meaning payments on new mortgages take up a larger share of the typical consumer income. Compared to March 2021, the index jumped nearly 23%, and the national mortgage payment increased 3.2% to $1,129 from $1,094 in February.

MBA’s national mortgage payment to rent ratio (MPRR) increased to 1.38 in March –the highest level since 2010– from 1.32 in February, 1.22 in January, and 1.15 in December 2021; meaning mortgage payments for home purchases have increased relative to rents. The national median asking rent in Q1 of 2022 increased 4% on a quarterly basis to $1,255. The 25th percentile mortgage application payment to median asking rent ratio was 0.90 in March, up from 0.87 in February, and 0.74 in December 2021.

“MBA’s updated forecast calls for an annual decline in existing sales, higher home prices and mortgage rates, and a smaller, but solid 4 percent gain in purchase origination volume," said Seiler.

Key Findings of MBA's Purchase Applications Payment Index – March 2022:

  • The national median mortgage payment applied for by applicants was $1,736 in March, up from $1,653 in February, $1,526 in January, and $1,349 in March 2021.
  • The national median mortgage payment for FHA loan applicants was $1,254 in March, up from $1,201 in February and $1,018 in March 2021.
  • The national median mortgage payment for conventional loan applicants was $1,819 in March, up from $1,750 in February and $1,424 in March 2021.
  • The top five states with the highest PAPI were: Idaho (241.2), Nevada (223.9), Arizona (200.7), California (192.5), and Utah (190.9).
  • The top five states with the lowest PAPI were: Washington, D.C. (89.1), Alaska (98.1), Connecticut (98.4), West Virginia (106.8), and Louisiana (107.1).
  • Homebuyer affordability decreased for Black households, with the national PAPI increasing from 146.5 in February to 153.8 in March.
  • Homebuyer affordability decreased for Hispanic households, with the national PAPI increasing from 137.5 in February to 144.4 in March.
  • Homebuyer affordability decreased for White households, with the national PAPI increasing from 144.4 in February to 151.6 in March.

To read the full report, including charts and methodology, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport, with more than six years of writing experience. She has served as Editor-in-Chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington. She has covered events such as the Byron Nelson, Pac-12 Conferences, the Women in Dallas Film Festival, to freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, she is an avid jazz lover and reader. She can be reached at demetria.lester@thefivestar.com.
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