Mortgage demand plummets even as rates slip from recent highs
A house is listed for sale in Chicago, Illinois.
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Mortgage application volume barely budged last week, down 0.5% from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.
Rates, meanwhile, fell slightly last week, but are still near a 22-year high.
The average contractual interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) fell from 7.16% to 7.06%, with points rising from 0.88 at 0.73 (including origination fees) for loans with a 20% decline. Payment. This rate was 3.24% the same week a year ago.
The slight drop was enough to move the needle a little bit on the request for refinancing. These requests were up 0.2% for the week, but were still 85% lower than a year earlier. There are now very few qualified borrowers who do not already have a rate lower than what is offered today.
Mortgage applications to buy a home fell 1% for the week and were down 41% year-on-year. Realtors and home builders say buyer traffic has slowed. Agents say buyers today see no sense of urgency, and some may be waiting for rates to come down more significantly.
“In addition to the ARM loan rate, rates for all other types of loans were more than three percentage points higher than they were a year ago. These high rates continue to put pressure on business purchasing and refinancing and have compounded ongoing affordability issues affecting the broader housing market, as evidenced by deteriorating trends in housing starts and home sales,” said Joel Kan, economist with an MBA.
Mortgage rates have started to rise again this week, according to Mortgage News Daily, but all ears are now on Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting. While the Fed is widely expected to raise its key rate by 0.75 percentage points, investors are more focused on what it will signal for future rate moves. Some believe that the Fed is about to end or at least slow down its rate hikes.
“If they go so far as to throw this bone in the market, it would probably be good for early rates,” wrote Matthew Graham, COO of Mortgage News Daily. “If they completely abstain from it, rates are going to have a bad [Wednesday] afternoon. … Either way, the volatility risk is high.”