Mortgage Applications Increase Exponentially as Interest Rates Decline
Lower interest rates to start the new year results in improved builder confidence for newly-built single-family homes and according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, This Week in Real Estate the Market Composite Index reached its highest level in 8 years to end the first full business week. Below are a few highlights from the third week of January that influence our business:
Purchase Mortgage Applications Reach 8 Year High
January 11 ended the first full business week in a while and mortgage activity responded accordingly. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported a strong rebound. Purchase mortgage applications moved higher for the sixth time in the last eight weeks, resuming the upward trajectory that was interrupted by the Christmas holidays. That index was up 9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis to its highest level since April 2010. The unadjusted Purchase Index rose 43 percent compared with the previous week and was 11 percent higher than the same week one year ago. In commenting on the improved activity, Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist said, “Uncertainty regarding the government shutdown, slowing global growth, Brexit, a more patient Fed, and a volatile stock market continued to keep rates from increasing. The spring home buying season is almost upon us, and if rates stay lower, inventory continues to grow, and the job market maintains its strength, we do expect to see a solid spring market.”
Lower Interest Rates Stabilize Builder Confidence
Buoyed by falling mortgage rates, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose two points to 58 in January on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The gradual decline in mortgage rates in recent weeks helped to sustain builder sentiment. Low unemployment, solid job growth and favorable demographics should support housing demand in the coming months. Lower interest rates that peaked around 5 percent in mid-November and have since fallen to just below 4.5 percent will help the housing market continue to grow at a modest clip as we enter the new year. All the Housing Market Indices posted gains in January. The index measuring current sales conditions rose two points to 63, the component gauging expectations in the next six months increased three points to 64, and the metric charting buyer traffic edged up one point to 44.
U.S. Foreclosure Activity Drops to 13-Year Low in 2018
ATTOM Data Solutions on Thursday released its Year-End 2018 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – were reported on 624,753 U.S. properties in 2018, down 8 percent from 2017 and down 78 percent from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005. Those 624,753 properties with foreclosure filings in 2018 represented 0.47 percent of all U.S. housing units, down from 0.51 percent in 2017 and down from a peak of 2.23 percent in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005. The report also includes new data for December 2018, when there were 52,069 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings, down 2 percent from the previous month and down 19 percent from a year ago – the 6th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity. Lenders started the foreclosure process on 369,170 U.S. properties in 2018, down 6 percent from 2017 and down 83 percent from a peak of 2,139,005 in 2009 to a new all-time low going back as far as foreclosure start data is available – 2006. States that saw the biggest decline in foreclosure starts from last year included Rhode Island (down 39 percent); Hawaii (down 26 percent); North Carolina (down 24 percent); Washington (down 24 percent); and Connecticut (down 23 percent). Those metropolitan statistical areas that all saw a large decline in foreclosure starts from last year included Salinas, California (down 49 percent; San Luis Obispo (down 44 percent); Tyler, Texas (down 42 percent); Durham, North Carolina (down 40 percent); and Portland, Oregon (down 32 percent).
If you’re interested in taking advantage of low interest rates, learning how much you could borrow, or are thinking about refinancing, contact a trusted HomeServices Loan Officer in Oregon or Washington today.