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Mortgage Applications Fall for the Fourth Straight Week

June 07 2023

The four-day business week accompanying the Memorial Day Holiday contributed to a further slowdown in mortgage applications. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, decreased 1.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and dropped 12 percent on an unadjusted basis. The Refinance Index decreased 1.0 percent from the previous week and was 42.0 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 27.3 percent from 26.7 percent the previous week. [refiappschart] The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index dipped 2.0 percent. The unadjusted index was down 13.0 percent week-over-week and 27 percent on an annual basis. [purchaseappschart] “Mortgage rates declined last week from a recent high, but total application activity slipped for the fourth straight week ,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “The 30-year fixed rate dipped to 6.81 percent; 10 basis points lower than last week but still the second highest rate of 2023 to date.   “Overall applications were more than 30 percent lower than a year ago, as borrowers continue to grapple with the higher rate environment . Purchase activity is constrained by reduced purchasing power from higher rates and the ongoing lack of for-sale inventory in the market, while there continues to be very little rate incentive for refinance borrowers. There was less of a decline in government purchase applications last week, which was consistent with a growing share of first-time home buyers in the market.”

Weekly Mortgage Apps Drift Lower

May 31 2023

Rising rates and sparse inventories continue to hamper the mortgage market. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended May 26 and was down 5.0 percent on an unadjusted basis.  It was the third straight week of slowing activity. The Refinance Index decreased 7 percent from the previous week and was 45 percent lower than the same week in 2022. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 26.7 percent of total applications from 27.4 percent the previous week. [refiappschart] The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was down 3 percent compared to the prior week and 4 percent before adjustment. The index was 31 percent lower than the same week one year ago. [purchaseappschart]  “Inflation is still running too high, and recent economic data is beginning to convince investors that the Federal Reserve will not be cutting rates anytime soon. Mortgage rates for conforming balance 30-year loans were being quoted above 7 percent by some lenders last week, and the weekly average at 6.9 percent reached the highest level since last November,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “ Application volumes for both purchase and refinance loans decreased last week due to these higher rates. While refinance demand is almost entirely driven by the level of rates, purchase volume continues to be constrained by the lack of homes on the market.”

March Home Prices Extend Recent Rebound

May 30 2023

One of the major home price indices showed a continued increase in national home prices in March and less waffling in some local markets. A second index, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA’) Housing Price Index (HPI) lengthened its string of quarterly price gains that stretches back to the first quarter of 2012. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 0.7 percent annual gain in March, down from 2.1 percent in the previous month. On a monthly basis, that index rose 1.3 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis and 0.4 percent after (SA) adjustment. Selma Hepp. CoreLogic Chief Economist credited the 0.7 percent annual increase in the National Index to the spring home buying season and a stronger return to the market of buyers than sellers. “[This] created another competitive market environment and one in which the very meager inventory of existing homes is putting buyers in a position of having to pay over the asking price and as a result driving early spring price gains well beyond what is traditionally seen during this period. But, monthly gains, up 1.3 percent from February, are almost double the increase seen between the two months and suggest housing market competition heated up again in early spring.” The 10-City Composite Index fell 0.8 percent after an annual increase of 0.5 percent in February but posted monthly gains of 1.6 percent NSA and 0.5 percent SA. The 20-City Composite dipped 1.1 percent compared to March 2022 while rising 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent for the month on NSA and SA bases, respectively.
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