Mortgage Rates Drop Slightly, But Buyers, Refinancers Pull Back Anyway

Mortgage Weekly Update

In some welcome news for buyers, mortgage rates decreased this week — though only slightly. According to Freddie Mac, the average rate on 30-year loans clocked in at 3.89% this week, down from 3.92% last week.

“Even with this week’s decline, mortgage rates have increased more than a full percent over the last six months,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Overall economic growth remains strong, but rising inflation is already impacting consumer sentiment, which has markedly declined in recent months.”

Despite the rate drop, mortgage loan applications fell 13.1% for the week, hitting their lowest point since December 2019. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, purchase loan activity was down 10%.

“Purchase applications, already constrained by elevated sales prices and tight inventory, have also been impacted by these higher rates and declined for the third straight week,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “While the average loan size did not increase this week, it remained close to the survey’s record high.”  

Refinances dropped even more, falling 16% for the week. Refinances are now 56% lower compared to last year and account for just 50% of all loan applications.

“Higher mortgage rates have quickly shut off refinances, with activity down in six of the first seven weeks of 2022,” Kan said. “Conventional refinances, in particular, saw a 17% decrease last week.”

More in mortgage & housing news

  • According to Realtor.com, new listings were up 21.3% over the year this week. As the company’s chief economist Danielle Hale suggests, it may be “a breakthrough in housing supply.”
  • A new report from Redfin shows that January was the most competitive month on record for homebuyers. A whopping 70% of all offers written by Redfin agents faced a bidding war that month, up from 60% a year ago.
  • The CoreLogic-Case Shiller Index for December came out this week, showing a nearly 19% increase in home prices between December 2020 and December 2021. Prices also jumped almost 1% compared to November 2021, marking the largest December gain on record.

This week in mortgage interest rates

Interest rates either dropped or held steady on all loan products this week. Here’s how they shook out:

Make sure to check back here next week for the latest mortgage interest rates and news.

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By Aly Yale / February 24th, 2022 / Categories: / Tags:

Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.