As mortgage rates went even higher, refinance demand plummets 10%


October 7, 2021: -A sharp increase in mortgage interest rates from the past few weeks is taking its toll on mortgage demand. Total refinance application volume decreased nearly 7% in the previous week compared with the last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s adjusted index.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances surging to 3.14% from 3.10%, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.34 for loans with a 20% down payment. That is the high level since July.

Refinance demand that is especially sensitive to weekly interest rate movements decreased to the lowest in three months, down 10% in the previous week compared with the last week. Volume was 16% lower than the same week one year ago.

“Higher rates are reducing borrowers’ incentive to refinance, as declines were seen across all loan types,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home refused 2% for the week and were 13% lower than the same week one year ago. A drop in conventional loan applications drove it, and government loans, mostly used by lower-income borrowers, saw a 1% increase in demand.

“But that was still not enough to bring down the average loan balance of $410,000. With home-price appreciation and sales prices remaining very elevated, applications for higher balance, conventional loans still dominate the mix of activity,” added Kan.

Rates fell back a little bit to start this week but then moved higher again Tuesday. The bond market, which dictates daily rate movement, reacted to economic data.

“After an important report on the services sector came out stronger than expected, bonds continued to deteriorate,” said Matthew Graham, chief operating officer at Mortgage News Daily. “When bonds lose enough ground in the middle of a trading day, mortgage lenders occasionally make mid-day adjustments to their rate offerings.”

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