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Lower interest rates boost mortgage demand

Current homeowners and potential buyers are taking advantage of decreasing mortgage rates to increase mortgage application traffic.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index shows applications jumped 3.2% last week.

The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) increased slightly last week to 6.42% from 6.41%, with points increasing to 0.64 from 0.63 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment.

Inflation is dropping, therefore rates have been falling over the past month.

Tuesday’s CPI report lowered interest rates.

Refinance mortgage applications jumped 3% last week but were 85% lower than a year ago.

The decline in rates from October’s high of slightly over 7% added to the small pool of refinance candidates.

Mortgage applications jumped 4% last week but were 38% lower than a year ago. As rates fall, the annual comparison shrinks.

Moderation in home-price rise and additional falls in mortgage rates may encourage more buyers to return to the market, an MBA economist said.

Lower rates have reduced demand for ARMs. ARM applications declined to 7.7% last week from 13% in October when rates were higher. ARMs offer lower rates but at a higher risk because they adapt to the market rate after their fixed maturities.

Mortgage rates fell after Tuesday’s CPI report, but they could move again Wednesday after the Fed announces its latest rate hike and Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks.

“A friendly Fed might easily shatter the range, but we have our reservations about how much fuel the Fed will throw to the fire,” said Mortgage News Daily’s Matthew Graham. The Fed may try to moderate excitement because it’s harmful to its goals.

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