Mortgage applications plunged 14% as higher interest rates and Hurricane Ian crushed orders

Mortgage applications plunged 14% as higher interest rates

October 6, 2022: -The highest mortgage rates in more than 20 years coincided with one of the deadliest hurricanes in the United States, contributing to a steep drop in mortgage demand.

Total mortgage application volume decreased 14.2% the previous week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally index, to the lowest level since 1997.

The contract interest rate for 30-year mortgages with which confronts loan balances surged to 6.75% from 6.52%, with points coming down to 0.95 from 1.15 for loans with a 20% down payment.

“The current rate has over doubled over the past year and has increased 130 basis points in the previous seven weeks alone,” noted Joel Kan, an MBA economist.

Refinance volume, most sensitive to weekly interest rate moves, dropped 18% this week and was 86% lower than the similar week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity came down to 29% of total applications from 30.2% the last week.

Mortgage applications to buy a home dropped 13% for the week and were steeply 37% lower yearly.

“There was an impact from Hurricane Ian’s arrival in Florida last week, prompting widespread closings and evacuations. Applications in Florida fell 31%, which compares to 14% overall, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis,” Kan added.

With higher interest rates creating an already expensive housing market even more costly, homebuyers turned more to adjustable-rate mortgages, offering a lower interest rate. That share of activity surged to 11.8%, up from 8.5% in the previous month and almost 3% when mortgage rates were below half what they are now.

According to one more survey from Mortgage News Daily, Mortgage rates decreased, but all bets are off when the crucial monthly employment report is released. Depending on how investors view the results and how the Federal Reserve might react, mortgage rates could move decisively in either direction.

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