According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates rose across all loan categories last week, including 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. The increase slowed mortgage demand, especially refinance activity.
Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist, told CNBC activity has been up-and-down lately, despite the fact that rates are well below where they were last year at this time. “Despite the 30-year fixed mortgage rate being almost 50 basis points lower than a year ago, refinance activity has been extremely sensitive to rate increases as the pool of borrowers who can benefit from refinancing continues to diminish,” Fratantoni said. But it wasn’t just refinance activity, demand for loans to buy homes was also down, dropping 3 percent from the week before. Still, total mortgage application volume is up 42 percent from the same week one year ago. And though that increase can partly be credited to rising refinance demand spurred by declining mortgage rates, home sales are also up over last year. The MBA’s survey has been conducted weekly since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.