The RDS Business Intelligence team recently updated its Econometrix Tableau real estate workbooks.

CLICK HERE to check out all of RDS’s Tableau Workbooks.


The average, 30-year fixed mortgage rate for December was 3.10, up slightly from 2.68% in December 2020. The average rate for 2021 came in at 2.96%. But it’s worth noting that we saw a 5.4% increase over the final three months of the year, when compared to the first nine months. 

To put the last year in perspective, our Tableau viz breaks down 30 year fixed rates for the past FIVE decades, summarized below:

  • 2020s: 3.00%
  • 2010s: 4.09%
  • 2000s: 6.29%
  • 1990s: 8.12%
  • 1980s: 12.70%
  • 1970s: 8.90%

The 5-decade average is 7.84%.


The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports weekly on two types of mortgage applications:

  • MBA Purchase Index: The Purchase Index is a leading indicator of home sales by 4-6 weeks, meaning that it is a predictor of housing activity. Housing economists and home builders use the index to forecast new and existing home sales.
  • MBA Refinance Index: The Refinance Index is a tool to predict mortgage activity. Homebuilders pay attention to the Refinance Index because it is a leading indicator of home sales. On the other hand, mortgage investors also take notice of the index as it is a leading indicator of mortgage pre-payment activity. 

MBA Purchase Index

As of December 17, the Purchase Index sits at 287.5. This is down 17% from the 12-month peak of 348.2 in January (this is also a 12-year high). Interestingly, the Purchase Index has been on a wild ride this year. For example, the December 17th index is 16% higher than mid-July.

MBA Refinance Index

The Refinance Index has shown similar volatility in 2021. The Index opened the year at 3,918, after closing out December 202 at 4,169. But the December 2021 Index stands at 2,351, down 40% from the beginning of the year!


NOTE: Home sale data lags by several months, so our current Tableau viz is based on the most recent, seasonally-adjust home sales. Seasonally-adjusted home sales for October came in at 745,000, down 25% from the same month a year ago. But October was up 10% from the 2021 low-point of  676,000 in June. Current home sales are still down 17% from the 14-year high of 1,021,000 which was hit in March, 2021.

Again, for an interactive look at all of the topics discussed above, as well as other aspects of the U.S. economy, visit our Tableau Public site.

To learn more about Recovery Decision Science contact:

Kacey Rask : Vice-President, Portfolio Servicing

[email protected] / 513.489.8877, ext. 261