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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:

To read the full report, including charts and methodology, click here [1].