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Real Estate

How far this recession could drive down purchase mortgage applications

Two major hurdles could temporarily keep homebuyers at bay

In so many ways, 2020 had an outperforming start to the year. 

This was especially true of the U.S. housing market. From the second week of January to the first week of March –– when most of the activity occurs in the housing market –– purchase applications were up double digits every week.

That is, until last week when applications were down 11% compared to the same time last year. And so it begins.

Logan Mohtashami
Logan Mohtashami, Columnist

An 11% decline year over year may not seem like much, especially considering what else is going on in the economic markets, but keep in mind that when the report on purchase applications data was released, jobless claims hadn’t spiked to near 3.3 million.

What a difference a week makes.

The last existing home sales report was at a 13-year high, 300,000 sales above my highest range forecast for 2020. The last report showed 8% year-over-year growth in home prices. Even the recent pending home sales report this week showed 2.4% growth month to month and 9.4% growth year over year.

But times have changed. 

What to keep in mind when looking at Q1 reports:

For those keeping track, the exact date of the last good jobless claims report was March 12.

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