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Mortgage News

Rates Continue to Depress Builders as Well as Sales

July 16 2024

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) blamed high interest for lagging new home sales and the resulting dampened industry confidence in building them. NAHB chief economist Robert Deitz said mortgage rates averaged 6.92 percent last month and rates for construction and development loans were also elevated. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), an indicator of home builders’ confidence in the market for newly constructed homes, was down 1 point in July to 42, the lowest reading since last December. Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 35 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. The HMI index charting current sales conditions in July fell 1 point to 47 and the gauge charting traffic of prospective buyers also declined by a single point to 27. The component measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased 1 point to 48. Deitz said that, while buyers seem to be waiting for lower interest rates, the six-month sales expectation for builders moved higher, indicating that builders hope for lower rates later this year as inflation data are showing signs of easing.

Higher Rates Suppress Mortgage Application Volume

July 10 2024

Mortgage applications declined slightly on a seasonally adjusted basis last week but plummeted on an unadjusted basis during the July 4th week. The week’s results include an additional adjustment to account for the holiday. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier but lost 20.0 percent before adjustment.   The Refinance Index decreased 2.0 percent from the previous week but was 28.0 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 34.9 percent of total applications from the previous 35.7 percent. [refiappschart] The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index managed a 1.0 percent gain while the unadjusted Purchase Index dropped 19.0 percent.  The purchase index was 13.0 percent lower than the same week one year ago. [purchaseappschart] “The recent uptick in mortgage rates has slowed demand. Mortgage applications were essentially flat last week, as mortgage rates remained around 7 percent,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Purchase activity picked up slightly, driven primarily by increases in FHA and VA applications. Refinance applications decreased for the fourth consecutive week, in line with higher rates. Although home equity gains have been significant in recent years, most borrowers do not have much of an incentive to refinance at current rates. ”

Refinance Volume Proves Brighter than Last Year

July 03 2024

Higher interest rates knocked mortgage application volume back last week. But, while purchase volume appears to lose ground year-over-year, refinancing activity is steadily improving compared to the same week in 2023. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of that application volume, decreased 2.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier and rose 8.0 percent on an unadjusted basis. The Refinance Index was down 2.0 percent compared to the week ended June 20 and was 29.0 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 35.7 percent of total applications from 35.1 percent the previous week.   [refiappschart] The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index fell 3.0 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 7.0 percent compared with the previous week and was 12.0 percent lower than the same week one year ago. [purchaseappschart] “Mortgage rates moved higher last week, crossing the 7 percent mark, even as the latest inflation data has kept market expectations alive for a rate cut from the Fed later this year,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s SVP and Chief Economist. “Purchase applications decreased the final full week of June, even as both new and existing inventories have increased over the past few months. Refinance activity also remains subdued – although there was a slight increase in applications for conventional refinance loans.”  

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