Applications for purchase mortgages rose 4.6 percent for the week ending January 22nd after a 1.6 percent decline in the prior week. Despite recent volatility, the 4-week moving average remains 21.3 percent stronger than the same time last year.
Applications to purchase homes swung dramatically in wake of the implementation of TRID, but have since gained traction. More recent end-of-year volatility has also given way to steady growth relative to last year.
The 4-week moving average, a means of smoothing this weekly volatility, sat at 21.3 percent stronger than a year earlier. While this was a decline from the 25.7 percent year-over-year gain from a week earlier, the measure is robust relative to last year’s late January strength.
The gains were concentrated in the conventional sector which jumped 5.5% compared to a 2.7% gain in the conventional space.
The average contract rate on a 30-year fixed slipped 4 basis points higher to 4.02 percent. Rates have fallen steadily from 4.20 percent just four weeks ago, but are 19 basis points higher the 3.83 percent average this time last year. Despite the increase rates remain historically low and FHA’s fees are much lower aiding affordability.
This week’s improvement is likely to concede ground next week due to snow-related delays in the South, Mid-Atlantic, and southern New England regions. However, purchase applications should pick up thereafter.
Buyer sentiment suggests sustained interest and a drop in actual doors opened isn’t necessarily contradictory. Rather, this pattern likely reflects the sharp drop in available inventory in December. Price growth and withering negative equity will help to generate nascent trade up activity, but additional inventory is needed to maintain turnover and to arrest strong price growth.
Ken Fears is the Manager of Regional Economics and Housing Finance Policy. He focuses on regional and local market trends found in the Local Market Reports and the Market Watch Reports . He also writes on developments in the mortgage industry and foreclosures.