This survey, conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association, tracks the weekly rate of change in applications for new mortgages and refinanced mortgages. It's not a significant market mover in its own right, but it provides valuable clues to predict new home sales and existing home sales - and those are major market movers.
According to the MBA's press release, the Market Composite Index declined 2.0% for the week ending 4/1. Most of the decline was driven by refinancing activity, as the Refinance Index declined 6.2% while the Purchase Index increased 6.7%. Refinancing represented 61.2% of the week's mortgage activity (down from last week's 64.3%), and adjustable rate mortgage applications increased to 6.1% of total applications. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased 1 bps to 4.93%.
The takeaway here is that the overall number of home purchases (whether new or existing) increased last week, which is a harbinger of glad tidings for the economy. Fewer people are attempting to refinance, though.