The housing shortage may have finally stopped the surge of hopeful homebuyers.
An index tracking applications to buy homes fell by 2 percent last week from the week prior, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey determined.
The MBA metric, known as the purchase index, was still up year-over-year, making it the 21st week the index has posted annual growth. But the slight drop from the previous week could be a sign that Americans’ unexpected urge to buy homes is leveling off.
The decrease came even as mortgage rates continued to fall. The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage inched down one basis point to 3 percent, a new low in the 30-year history of MBA’s survey. Jumbo rates fell to 3.3 percent from 3.31 percent the prior week.
Joel Kan, MBA’s head of industry forecasting, blamed the drop in applications from homebuyers on a supply shortage.
“Housing supply is a challenge for many aspiring buyers, but activity should continue to stay strong the rest of the year,” he said in a statement.
The number of homes on the market hit a 40-year low last month, driving prices up to unprecedented levels.
An MBA index that tracks the number of applications to refinance essentially remained flat, ebbing by 0.3 percent last week from the week prior. It was still up 44 percent from a year ago.
Last week the refinance index reached the highest level since mid-August.
MBA’s survey encompasses 75 percent of the U.S. residential mortgage market.