Mortgage applications gave back their gains last week, falling exactly as much as they had risen the previous week. This as interest rates increased ever so slightly.
Total application volume fell 2.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending April 24th, but is up nearly 34 percent from a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Applications to refinance home loans fell four percent, while those to purchase a home were unchanged for the week.
“Applications for conventional purchase loans are at their highest level since August 2014,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the MBA. “With the recent pickup in existing home sales, this is another sign that housing markets are strengthening.”
Still, the stall in purchase application volume is a red flag, given that they had been on a tear, up 13 percent in the past four weeks. It could be a one-week aberration, but it is somewhat unexpected right in the heart of the spring season, traditionally the busiest for home sales. Home price gains have been increasing, as strong buyer demand comes up against very tight supply. That may be playing into the drop in applications—simply that people are not finding the right homes at the right price.