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Lower US mortgage rates fail to lift application volumes – view from across the pond

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  • 02/04/2024
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Lower US mortgage rates fail to lift application volumes – view from across the pond
Mortgage Solutions takes its regular weekly look across the Atlantic and examines what’s going on in the US mortgage market.

The latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey from the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) shows that the average 30-year fixed rate was 6.79% this week. 

This is a fall from 6.87% the week before, but up from 6.32% the same time last year. 

The average 15-year fixed rate came to 6.11%, down from an average of 6.21% last week. 

Again, this was higher than the 5.56% average last year. 

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said: “Mortgage rates moved slightly lower this week, providing a bit more room in the budgets of some prospective homebuyers. 

“We also are seeing encouraging data on existing home sales, which reflects improving inventory. Regardless, rates remain elevated near 7% as markets watch for signs of cooling inflation, hoping that rates will come down further.” 

 

US mortgage applications dip 

Mortgage applications decreased by 0.7%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA’s) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. 

This was compared to the previous week and on a seasonally adjusted basis. 

On an unadjusted basis, applications fell by 0.4% compared with the previous week. 

Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist, said: “Mortgage application activity was muted last week despite slightly lower mortgage rates.” 

He said the lower 30-year fixed rate was “not enough to stimulate borrower demand”. 

Kan added: “Purchase applications were essentially unchanged, as homebuyers continue to hold out for lower mortgage rates and for more listings to hit the market. Lower rates should help to free up additional inventory as the lock-in effect is reduced, but we expect that will only take place gradually, as we forecast that rates will move toward 6% by the end of the year.

“Similarly, with rates remaining elevated, there is very little incentive right now for rate/term refinances.” 

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