U.S. mortgage requests hit two-month peak as loan rates fall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. mortgage applications for buying or refinancing a home climbed to a two-month high last week, as home borrowing costs fell to their lowest in over a year, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed on Wednesday

Reuters March 21, 2019 00:06:23 IST
U.S. mortgage requests hit two-month peak as loan rates fall

US mortgage requests hit twomonth peak as loan rates fall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. mortgage applications for buying or refinancing a home climbed to a two-month high last week, as home borrowing costs fell to their lowest in over a year, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed on Wednesday.

The Washington-based industry group's seasonally adjusted index on mortgage activity edged up 1.6 percent to 390.0 in the week ended March 15. This was the highest reading since 400.6 in the week of Jan. 18.

Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of $484,350 or less decreased to 4.55 percent, the lowest since the Feb. 2, 2018 week. They averaged 4.64 percent a week earlier.

The decline in the average conforming mortgage rate was the steepest in about 2-1/2 months.

Other mortgage rates that MBA tracks fell 2 basis points to 10 basis points from the previous week.

Domestic home borrowing costs fell in step with lower U.S. Treasury yields.

"Mortgage rates declined once again, as concerns about the slowing global economy and status of Brexit continued to drive investors’ demand for U.S. Treasuries, ultimately pushing yields lower,” Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement, referring to Britain's exit from the European Union.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were at 2.589 percent in early Wednesday trading, 2 basis points lower than on Tuesday and a week ago, Refinitiv data showed.

The bulk of the pickup in applications stemmed from demand for home refinancing.

MBA's index on refinancing rose 3.5 percent to 1,146.8 last week, which was the strongest since the week of Jan. 11.

The share of refinancing versus total applications grew to 39.3 percent from 38.6 percent a week earlier.

On the other hand, MBA's barometer on loan applications for home purchases, seen as a proxy on future housing activity, ticked up only 0.3 percent to 251.5, the highest since the week of Feb. 1.

“Entry-level housing supply remains weak and is likely hindering some would-be first-time buyers from finding a home," Kan said.

(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Rockets hit near U.S. forces and contractors in Iraq in separate attacks -officials
World

Rockets hit near U.S. forces and contractors in Iraq in separate attacks -officials

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Rockets hit near U.S. forces and contractors in Iraq on Wednesday, including an air base north of Baghdad and a military base at Baghdad International Airport, the Iraqi army and security officials said. The army reported at least three rockets hit Balad air base, where U.S

Italian police probe subcontractor to Burberry over labour exploitation -warrant
World

Italian police probe subcontractor to Burberry over labour exploitation -warrant

By Silvia Ognibene and Silvia Aloisi FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) -Italian police have arrested a Chinese couple accused of running a leather goods business which exploited immigrant workers it employed to make handbags for a Burberry supplier, according to an arrest warrant seen by Reuters. Tax police in Florence said in a statement that the two Chinese nationals were arrested on Wednesday as part of an investigation into alleged labour exploitation and tax fraud and that restrictive measures had been imposed on two other family members, including a ban on them leaving Italy

U.S. blacklists four Nicaraguans, including Ortega's daughter
World

U.S. blacklists four Nicaraguans, including Ortega's daughter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday blacklisted four Nicaraguans, including a daughter of President Daniel Ortega, as Washington warned it would continue to use diplomatic and economic tools against members of the leftist government engaged in repression. The U.S. State Department called on Ortega to release detained presidential candidates as well as other civil society and opposition leaders arrested over the past week in what Washington called "an increasing wave of repression." "There are costs for those who are complicit in the regime's repression.