Mortgage Rates Up

I alluded briefly yesterday to the yin and the yang of the current mortgage market — many more buyers than last year are submitting purchase and refinance applications, in spite of the fact that rates keep heading mostly upwards. Today, Freddie’s rate survey found rates to be the highest they’ve been in well over a year:

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped to an average 6.37% from 6.21% in the week ending May 24, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey. It was the benchmark’s biggest rate move since Nov. 3, 2005, when rates also jumped 16 basis points. The 30-year fixed-rate loan averaged 6.62% a year ago. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to a 6.06% average, up from its 5.92% average last week. That mortgage product averaged 6.23% a year ago.

It’s a rather strange trend, when you think about it. Rates are up, the housing market’s pretty much in the tank, yet apps keep on climbing. What’s missing here is the approval rate: I have to guess that what’s going on is a large number of borrowers are looking to refinance, and quickly. After all, refinance share of applications is up to more than 43 percent of total applications, and we know a large swath of borrowers have to refinance to avoid pending payment shock, right? I don’t think that’s all of it, but I’m willing to wager that a large part of the run-up in application volume sits squarely in the reset.

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