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Home arrow Financial News arrow Mortgage News arrow Higher rates cause U.S. mortgage applications to fall

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Higher rates cause U.S. mortgage applications to fall
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Thursday, 13 April 2006

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 The Mortgage Bankers Association's index of applications to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage declined 5.5 % to 579.4 from 612.8 a week earlier. The gauge of applications to purchase homes dropped 4.7 % to 417.7. The Mortgage Bankers Association's index of applications to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage declined 5.5 % to 579.4 from 612.8 a week earlier.

The gauge of applications to purchase homes dropped 4.7 % to 417.7. This comes at a time when higher mortgage rates and a decline in speculative purchases may cause home sales to fall this year for the first time since 2000, said Anthony Chan, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s private client services group in Columbus, Ohio. “The housing market is clearly slowing down,” Chan said. “Now that the mortgage rates are going up, you may see people getting really, really scared.'” Last week's reported 6.5 % average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was the highest in almost four years, according to today's release. Even average rates on 15-year fixed and one-year adjustable mortgages rose.

The mortgage banker's refinancing index fell 6.6 % to 1532.4, the second-lowest level this year, from 1640.8 the week earlier. Refinancing's share of loan applications fell to 36 % last week, from 36.6 % the week before.

The previous week's overall index was the highest since the week ended Feb. 3 and indicated that buyers might be jumping into the market because of fear that mortgage rates would become even higher, economists said. Last week's average 30-year rate was the highest since June 14, 2002, when it was 6.53 %.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 6.17 % from 6.15 %. The one-year adjustable mortgage was 5.97 %, up from 5.96 % a week earlier. Freddie Mac said on April 10 to expect a decrease in home sales by 8% this year. The second-largest U.S. mortgage company projects prices to rise only by 8.7 % in 2006, down from last year’s 13 % increase, and expects 30-year fixed mortgages to average 6.4 %. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President William Poole said in an interview on April 7 that it is very likely for housing starts and permits to be basically flat, perhaps even down some. However, “strengthening in the nonresidential part of investment will make up for the weakness in housing,” he said.

 The Mortgage Bankers Association's survey covers about half of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations and has been compiled every week since 1990.

Marie Rose Arong

Real Estate Press

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 May 2006 )
 
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