Weekly Mortgage Applications Rise

Raw mortgage application volume rose 21.2 percent for the week ending March 13, according to a survey published Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association. It was the second consecutive week of increased raw activity, while refinancing applications continued to rise, surging 29.6 percent over the previous week. Purchase application activity also rose slightly, coming in 1.5 percent higher than last week, when it had posted a 7 percent increase. These data suggest refi products might be edging back to their recent popular highs and interest in home purchases, while also rising, is not keeping up with the refi popularity. A separate study conducted by Mortgage Maxx LLC found that household application activity rose 6.5 percent the same week. It was the first week household activity has risen since mid-February. Mortgage Application Index — or MAX — publisher Paul Descloux in his commentary on the index cautioned against undue optimism in the face of weekly gains in activity. “Mortgage applications continue to keep pace well below year-to-date highs,” he wrote. “Though the Fed chairman did an empathetic presentation for the masses while other government talking heads try to espouse courage, we’ll have to see if the latest words can really put a floor in housing. However not much has changed in a week. Consumer psyche is traumatized, twenty percent of all home owners have slipped over the negative equity cliff, and whole swaths of potential mortgagors are unable to qualify.” The MBA, which also tracks mortgage interest rates, found rates eased across the board in the week, with 30-year fixed rates down to 4.89 percent from 4.96 percent a week earlier. Meanwhile, 15-year fixed rates slipped down slightly to 4.52 percent from 4.54 percent the week before, and one-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged a 6.2 percent interest rate, down slightly from 6.21 a week earlier. With rates inching downward and hype over President Barack Obama’s foreclosure prevention plan no doubt causing an influx of interest, it stands to reason refinance products would take the cake. The question remains whether the popularity will last, and just how many applications translate into closed loans. Visit www.mbaa.org and www.mortgagemaxx.us for further details. Write to Diana Golobay at diana.golobay@housingwire.com.

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