Mortgage Applications Slip as Demand Slips for Refinancing Loans

Mortgage applications declined last week, according to a Wednesday report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, but are still well ahead of where they were at the same time last year. According to the report, demand fro home loans fell 2.3 percent last week, on a seasonally adjusted basis, but are still up 34 percent in year-over-year terms. Last week’s decline was mostly the result of a dip in requests for refinance loans, which fell four percent, as applications for purchase loans were unchanged from the prior week, holding at their highest level since last August. Some economists were alarmed that purchase activity stalled after shooting up some 13 percent in the previous four weeks, particularly considering this is prime home buying season. Others saw the slowdown as an aberration, however, and expect sales to continue rising through the remainder of the spring selling season.

With the stout 4 percent decline last week, refinance loans accounted for just 55 percent of all mortgage applications, down from 56 percent in the week prior and the lowest share for refinance activity since last September. The overall decline came as interest rates went up, but only slightly.

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