Mortgage Rates Rise But Remain Near Lows

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates were up last week from the week before, with increases seen for 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. The rate increase caused a drop in mortgage applications, which fell 6.4 percent from the previous week. Joel Kan, MBA's associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says the number of prospective buyers looking for loans to buy homes is still higher than last year but may be slowed by inventory issues. “Purchase applications fell 3 percent last week, as there continues to be some pullback after a strong January,” Kan said. “Activity was still 10 percent higher than a year ago, but too few options – especially at the lower portion of the market – are slowing some would-be buyers.” Refinance activity also fell, though it remains 165 percent higher than at the same time last year. The MBA's weekly survey has been conducted weekly since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.

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