Mar 10, 2021 - Economy

Mortgage applications fall again

Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals

Mortgage applications declined for the fourth time in five weeks (and the sixth time in the last eight weeks), data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey found, as mortgage rates continued to follow U.S. Treasury yields higher, dampening demand.

By the numbers: The benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to "the highest since last July and up 40 basis points since the start of 2021," Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, noted in a release.

  • "The run-up in mortgage rates continues to cool demand for refinance applications."

Yes, but: Kan also pointed to MBA's purchase index, which showed gains in both conventional and government applications, as overall activity increased 2.4% from its year ago level, and loan sizes declined for the second straight week — "potentially a sign that more first-time buyers are entering the market.”

  • The share of mortgages that were refinances rather than purchases declined to 64.5% from 67.5% last week, another sign that first-time buyers, rather than companies or repeat buyers, are becoming a more important force in the market.

What's next: April begins the all-important spring buying season. Demand is expected to increase, but could be hamstrung by the increase in rates.

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