US mortgage applications rise as mortgage rates drop slightly -MBA

By Evan Sully

(Reuters) – Mortgage applications increased last week, with requests to purchase their largest increase since early July, while mortgage rates edged down.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said on Wednesday that its average contractual interest rate for traditional 30-year mortgages fell to 3.03%, from 3.06% in the week ending August 20. week earlier, reflecting a 0.9% increase in applications for refinancing existing loans.

Purchase requests rose 3.0%, the MBA said.

After hitting record lows late last year below 2.9%, mortgage rates climbed during the first part of this year and peaked in the spring. Rates have since fallen, held in large part by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s extraordinary stimulus measures aimed at helping the economy rebound from the coronavirus pandemic, but rose last week after data showed an increase in hires last month.

“The buying index was at its highest level since early July, although it continues to lag behind 2020,” said Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industrial forecasting at MBA. . “There has also been some easing in the average loan size, which is potentially a sign that more first-time buyers looking for low-cost homes are being helped by the recent increase in inventory for sale. newly built homes and existing homes. “

Sales of existing homes rose for the second consecutive month in July, a report from the National Association of Realtors revealed on Monday.

New home sales also rose in July after three consecutive monthly declines, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. However, housing market dynamics appear to be slowing as house prices have continued to climb this year amid tight supply.

“Strong demand, persistently low mortgage rates and a modest increase in existing home inventory are supporting home sales,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, chief economist at Oxford Economics in New York City. “However, supplies are still historically tight and home prices at or near record levels will continue to moderate the pace of home sales.”

(Reporting by Evan Sully; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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