Applications for mortgages to buy homes drop

Decrease came as refinancing applications picked up

National /
Jul.July 15, 2020 09:45 AM
According to the report, purchase applications are down while refinancing is up (iStock)

Purchase applications were down last week while refinancing rose (iStock)

Homebuyers took some time off last week as homeowners got busy.

An index tracking the volume of mortgage applications to buy homes fell last week by 6 percent, seasonally adjusted, from the first week of July.

The metric, known as the purchase index, is based on a weekly survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Despite last week’s drop, Joel Kan, the group’s executive in charge of industry forecasting, said the volume of purchases applications was up 15 percent compared to the same week a year ago. It marked the eighth week in a row the purchase index saw year-over-year growth, he said.

Meanwhile, refinancing activity increased. MBA’s index tracking the volume of applications to refinance increased 12 percent, adjusted, compared to the week before. It was up 107 percent year-over-year.

The prior week, the refinance index remained flat after two weeks of declines.

Kan attributed last week’s gain to the 30-year fixed mortgage rate falling 7 basis points to 3.19 percent, a record low in the history of the survey, which has been conducted since 1990. Jumbo rates ticked up to 3.53 percent from 3.52 percent last week.

Refinance loan balances increased to $315,900, a size not seen since March, according to Kan.

MBA’s overall index, which measures all manner of home-loan applications for 75 percent of the residential mortgage market, saw a 5 percent increase last week. Refinancing made up 64 percent of the total applications tracked by the composite index last week.

Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]


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