Is Market Volatility Giving Buyers Cold Feet?

It seems a 1,000-plus point drop in the stock market last week mixed with rising interest rates may have been enough to give homeowners and buyers the jitters. Overall mortgage applications last week dipped 4.1 percent week over week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

Broken out, mortgage applications for home purchases plunged 6 percent last week. However, that number is still 4 percent higher than last year. Home buyers complain of weakened affordability and lengthier home searches in research released this week by the National Association of Home Builders. Refinance applications dipped 2 percent last week, but they remain 2.8 percent higher than the same week a year ago.

Mortgage rates continue to move upwards. Last week the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to its highest rate since January 2014, averaging 4.57 percent, the MBA reported.

Source: “Stock Jitters and Higher Interest Rates Drive Weekly Mortgage Applications Down 4.1%,” CNBC (Feb. 14, 2018)

Sign of Home Buying ‘Rebounding Soon’

After several recent drops, mortgage applications reversed course last week, with those for home purchases jumping 5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest report. The rise, which reflects data from the week ending Feb. 20, also came despite higher mortgage interest rates, MBA notes. (The survey includes adjustments for the President’s Day holiday.) Nevertheless, purchase applications still remain 2 percent lower than the same week a year ago.

Applications for refinancings continued to fall last week, dropping 8 percent to its lowest level this year. The drop prompted MBA’s overall mortgage application index, reflects both applications for home purchases and refinancings, to fall 3.5 percent for the week.

“The one exception to this trend was VA refinance volume, which increased 27 percent last week as certain lenders refocused on VA production,” says Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist. “The VA share of total applications increased to 9.6 percent from 8 percent the week prior as a result.”

Source: “Mortgage Applications Point to More Buyers,” CNBC (Feb. 25, 2015)