On the heels of the Federal Reserve pausing its rate hikes, mortgage demand increased, but only slightly.
For the week that ended June 21, mortgage applications only climbed 0.5% from the prior week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. This slow growth highlights that while demand is there and rates have fallen for three consecutive weeks, activity continues to be constrained by low levels of affordable inventory.
“The 30-year fixed mortgage rate declined for the third consecutive week to 6.73%, while other mortgage rates saw mixed results. Purchase applications increased, driven by a 2% gain in conventional purchase applications and a 3% increase in FHA purchase activity,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist.
“First-time homebuyers account for a large share of FHA purchase loans, and this increase is a sign that while buyer interest is there, activity continues to be constrained by low levels of affordable inventory.”
On Tuesday, U.S. Census Bureau data on new residential construction showed that housing starts rose 21.7% from April, and were up 5.7% from May 2022, to 1.63 million. It’s a hopeful sign that homebuilders will help offset an extremely low level of existing home inventory by getting a jump start on new projects.
The MBA data showed that the average 30-year fixed rate for conforming loans ($726,200 or less) decreased to 6.73% last week from 6.77% the previous week. For jumbo loan balances (greater than $726,200), the rate jumped to 6.80% from 6.79% in the same period, according to the MBA.
However, at Mortgage News Daily, mortgage rates were slightly higher on Tuesday, at 6.87%.
Refinancing applications decreased 2% last week compared to the previous week and were 40% lower than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 26.9% of total applications from 27.3% the previous week. Meanwhile, the purchase index increased by 2% from one week earlier and was 32% lower than last year’s level on an unadjusted seasonal basis.
“The rate for jumbo loans exceeded the conforming rate for the second straight week – the last time jumbo rates were higher was in December 2021,” added Kan. “Tighter liquidity conditions have prompted jumbo lenders to pull back, increasing rates in the process.”
Regarding loan types, the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of mortgage apps decreased to 6.3% of total applications, the MBA data shows.
The Federal Housing Administration loans’ share increased to 13.3% from 13.0% the week prior. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs loans’ share decreased to 11.9% from 12.6% the week prior. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture loans’ share decreased one basis point to 0.4% of the total applications.