Mortgage Demand Rebounds Despite Higher Rates

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates rose again last week. Rates were up for 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, 15-year fixed-rate loans, and 5/1 ARMs. But despite higher rates, demand for mortgage loan applications still improved from one week earlier. In fact, measures of both refinance and purchase loan activity saw significant increases from the week before, with refinance activity up 9 percent and demand for loans to buy homes up 7 percent. Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist, says the increases are welcome but activity is still down from last year. “Even with higher rates, there was an uptick in applications last week, but this was in comparison to two weeks of declines to very low levels, including a holiday week,” Kan said. “Comparing the application indices from a year ago, purchase applications were still down 42 percent, and refinance activity was down 76 percent.” The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. (source)

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