Mortgage Applications Finally Edge Up Again

February 28, 2018

A brief pause in the rise of interest rates helped buoy mortgage application volume last week, following several weeks of declines. Total mortgage applications for home purchases and refinancings rose 2.7 percent compared to the previous week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. Applications, however, are 2.4 percent lower than a year ago.

The bulk of last week’s increase was driven by home buyers. Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 6 percent during the week, and are 3 percent higher than a year ago, the MBA reports.

Meanwhile, refinance applications dropped 1 percent for the week and are down nearly 10 percent from a year ago. Interest rates were lower a year ago, and refinance applications tend to be more rate-sensitive.

"The refinance share of all applications dropped to 41.8 percent, its lowest share since May 2017 as we move further into a purchase-dominated market,” says Joel Kan, an MBA economist.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.64 percent last week, unchanged from the previous week, the MBA reports. But mortgage rates have been volatile and have been on the rise since the start of this year. Rates were moving higher again this week, housing analysts note.

Source: “Mortgage Applications Rise 2.7 Percent as Rates Take a Brief Breather From Surge,” CNBC (Feb. 28, 2018)