According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, the Market Composite Index, which measures total mortgage loan application volume, was relatively flat last week, rising just 0.1 percent from the previous week. The slight increase was due to a 2.9 percent increase in the Purchase Index, which is now 3.0 percent higher than last year’s level. Refinance activity was also flat, falling less than one percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.05 percent from 4.04 percent the previous week. The rate for jumbo loans moved up to 4.32 percent. Also in the report, the investor share of purchase application demand fell to 5.7 percent in March, decreasing from 6.1 percent in February. More here.
Freddie Mac’s most recent U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook says the labor market is on track for an increase in job growth this year and the economy and housing market continue to make progress. According to Freddie Mac’s outlook, unemployment should fall to 8.0 percent by the fourth quarter and major economic indicators such as retail sales and payroll performance should show continued improvement. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s vice president and chief economist, points to the fact that the unseasonably warm winter months are likely responsible for the volatility in current housing data and the pattern isn’t likely to continue through the summer. Nothaft says, since 1959, single-family housing starts have moved an average of 9 percent between winter months but, during successive summer months, the average is just 4 percent. More here.