Refinance Mortgage Applications Jump to Highest Point Since October
The change in mortgage applications this week was mixed in two surveys. A 17% surge in the volume of applications submitted for refinance in the week ending May 21 pushed the measurement to its highest point since October 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). A separate survey measuring household activity in the application process ticked downward in the same week. The MBA found that the refinance index's third consecutive increase put at the highest level in eight months, since October. Applications submitted for refinance now account for 72.2% of all applications, up from 68.1% last week. "Refinance application volume jumped last week as continuing financial market turmoil related to the budget crises in Europe extended the opportunity for homeowners to lock in at historically low mortgage rates," said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, in a statement. At the same time, purchase mortgage applications fell 3.3% to the lowest level in more than 13 years, since April 1997. The Mortgage Maxx index, which adjusts data to reflect the number of households applying for a mortgage, found 0.2% fewer households submitted applications in the same week. "Despite near record low mortgage rates, initial mortgage activity remains lethargic," said index publisher Paul Descloux in weekly commentary. "Given the seasonal tail winds for home sales, the [index] is indicating a still extremely weak housing market as tax credits and engineered rates fail to kick start a housing recovery. Demand may have been simply stolen from current and upcoming months." Write to Diana Golobay.