Mortgage Rate Increase Slows Demand

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates rose last week from the week before. Rates were up across all loan categories, including 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. The increase had a negative effect on mortgage application demand, despite the fact that rates were up only slightly from the previous week and remain near historic lows. In fact, the Market Composite Index – which measures both refinance and purchase activity – was down 3.5 percent, led by a 4 percent drop in the Refinance Index. The good news, according to MBA chief economist Michael Fratantoni, is that recent volatility appears to be settling down. “Between the recent TILA-RESPA regulatory change and the Columbus Day holiday, mortgage application volume has been more volatile than normal,” Fratantoni said. “However, that appears to be settling down somewhat.” Also in the report, demand for loans to purchase homes was 23 percent higher than it was during the same week last year. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.

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