According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index surged last week, gaining 8.2 percent over the week before. But despite the spike, a dip in refinance volume kept the Market Composite Index, which measures total loan application demand, relatively flat. Total mortgage applications decreased 0.3 percent from the previous week, though the four-week moving average is up 0.33 percent. Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said mortgage rates remained near survey lows last week but refinance volume fell slightly. The week’s results were adjusted for the Presidents Day holiday. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 4.07 percent from 4.09 percent the week before. More here.
Pending home sales measure contract signings, not closings, and are a good indicator of future sales. In January, the National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index reached its highest level since April 2010. The index was up 2.0 percent from December and 8.0 percent over the year before. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the report offers hope of a healthy spring homebuying season. According to Yun, the upward trend implies home sales will see further gains this year and declining inventory could also mean broader price stabilization and growth. In January, the index was higher than anytime since the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. More here.
Homes are more affordable now than anytime in the past 20 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Opportunity Index. The index measures the percentage of homes affordable to a family making the national median income of $64,200. During the fourth quarter of last year, more than 75 percent of all the new and existing homes sold nationwide were affordable, the highest percentage in the index’s 20-year history. Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said that report indicates that homeownership is within the reach of more households than it has been for more than two decades. More here.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New Residential Sales report for January shows sales of new single-family homes were 0.9 below December’s upwardly revised annual rate of 324,000. The revision to December’s rate, previously reported to be 307,000, put that month’s sales pace at a year-long high. And, despite slipping from last month, January’s sales pace exceeded economists’ expectations and were 3.5 percent above last year. The median sales price of new houses sold in January was $217,000, up from $210,300 in December. At the end of the month, there was a 5.6-month supply of new homes for sale at the current sales pace. More here.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, mortgage applications decreased 4.5 percent last week from the week before. Despite the decline, the Market Composite Index, which measures mortgage applications volume, is relatively flat over the past four weeks due to previous spikes in purchase and refinance activity. Last week, both the Refinance and Purchase Index were down, primarily due to a slight uptick in mortgage rates. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances moved to 4.09 percent from 4.08 percent the previous week. The average rate for 30-year jumbo loans increased to 4.32 percent. More here.