Home Loan Demand Spikes As Buyers Return

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, mortgage application demand bounced back from a big drop two weeks ago, surging 9.3 percent last week. The increase included a 7 percent gain in refinance activity and a 12 percent spike in the number of Americans requesting applications for loans to buy homes. Still, industry analysts say demand for home purchase applications should be stronger considering the high level of buyer interest and mortgage rates that remain historically low. Last week, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances fell slightly. At the same time, average rates were up for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration and unchanged for mortgages with jumbo balances. Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist, told CNBC that despite expectations that the Fed would raise rates this month, May’s week jobs report may change that. “Given the weak employment report for May, we think it is unlikely that the Fed will raise rates in June,” Fratantoni said. “However, as other economic data are pointing to continued economic growth, we do expect that they will increase rates following their July meeting.” For now, though, average mortgage rates remain near three-year lows and are lower than they were at the same time 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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