The MBA Mortgage Application Index declined 8.1% last week, following the prior week’s decrease of 1.2%. The downward move came as a 14.4% drop in the Refinance Index was accompanied by a 1.5% fall for the Purchase Index. The average 30-year mortgage rate extended its climb, jumping 23 basis points (bps) to 4.50%, and is up 114 bps versus a year ago.
In other housing news, new home sales (chart) fell 2.0% month-over-month (m/m) in February to an annual rate of 772,000 units, shy of the Bloomberg consensus forecast calling for a rate of 810,000 units, and below January’s downwardly-revised 788,000-unit level. The median home price rose 10.7% y/y to $400,600. New home inventory rose to 6.3 months from January’s level of a 6.1-months supply at the current sales pace. Sales jumped m/m in the Northeast, and were higher in the Midwest, while lower in the South and West. Sales in all regions were lower y/y, except for the Northeast which gained ground. New home sales are based on contract signings, offering a timelier read on housing activity compared to the larger contributor of existing home sales, which are based on closings