Mortgage Rates Rise and Applications Fall     

Mortgage Weekly Update

On Thursday, February 15, 2024, Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.77 percent, up from last week when it averaged 6.64 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.32 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.12 percent, up from last week when it averaged 5.9 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.51 percent.

“On the heels of consumer prices rising more than expected, mortgage rates increased this week,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The economy has been performing well so far this year and rates may stay higher for longer, potentially slowing the spring homebuying season. According to our data, mortgage applications to buy a home so far in 2024 are down in more than half of all states compared to a year earlier.”

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mortgage applications decreased 2.3 percent from one week earlier. The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week and was 12 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 4 percent compared with the previous week and was 12 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Application activity was weaker last week, as mortgage rates moved higher across the board. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was up to 6.87 percent — the highest rate since early December 2023,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Purchase applications remained subdued as elevated rates continue to add to affordability challenges along with still-low existing housing inventory. Refinance applications declined and remained depressed, with rates still higher than a year ago.” 

More housing and market news

According to the MBA, commercial and multifamily borrowing was down 25 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared with a year earlier. “Borrowing and lending backed by commercial real estate remained subdued to close out 2023,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s Head of Commercial Real Estate Research. “The fourth quarter saw a small pick-up from the previous quarter, as is usually the case, but was still down about 25 percent from 2022’s already suppressed fourth-quarter pace. For the year, mortgage originations were about 50 percent below 2022 levels, with every major property type and capital source experiencing a decline.”

According to the MBA’s 2023 Commercial Real Estate Survey of Loan Maturity Volumes, 20 percent of the $4.7 trillion of outstanding commercial mortgages held by lenders and investors will mature in 2024, a 28 percent increase from the $729 billion that matured in 2023.

Mortgage delinquencies on one-to-four-unit residential properties increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 3.88 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the fourth quarter of 2023.

According to MBA’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), mortgage credit availability rose by 0.7 percent in January. “There was a slight increase in credit availability in January, driven by a greater number of conventional loan program offerings. However, overall credit availability remained close to 2012 lows, and the conventional index was close to its record low in the series dating back to 2011,” said MBA’s Kan. “Even though there was an increase in cash-out refinance programs available, credit supply overall is tight. The challenging lending environment has pushed many lenders to reduce costs by cutting back on certain aspects of their business, including exiting origination channels, which has contributed to lower credit supply.” 

Additional mortgage activity  

  • The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 34.2 percent of total applications from 35.4 percent the previous week.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7 percent of total applications.
  • The FHA share of total applications increased to 13.4 percent from 13.1 percent the week prior.
  • The VA share of total applications decreased to 13.1 percent from 14.1 percent the week prior.
  • The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.4 percent from the week prior.

This week in mortgage rates

Rates rise. Here’s how average fixed rates broke down:

  • 30-year fixed-rate loans: 6.77% (up from 6.64%)
  • 15-year fixed-rate loans: 6.12% (up from 5.9%)

Check back next week for the most up-to-date mortgage and housing news.


Feb 8 – Mortgage Rates Show Little Movement, Applications Increase Marginally

On Thursday, February 8, 2024, Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.64 percent, up slightly from last week when it averaged 6.63 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.12 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.9 percent, down from last week when it averaged 5.94 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.25 percent.

“Mortgage rates remain stagnant, hovering in the mid-six percent range over the past several weeks,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The economy and labor market remain strong with wage growth outpacing inflation, which is keeping consumer spending robust. Meanwhile, affordability in the housing market is an ongoing issue due to continued high home prices, elevated mortgage rates, and low supply of homes on the market, particularly for first-time and low-income homebuyers.”

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mortgage applications increased 3.7 percent from one week earlier. The Refinance Index increased 12 percent from the previous week and was 1 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 6 percent compared with the previous week and was 19 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates have stayed close to where they started the year, despite swings in Treasury yields because of slowing inflation offset by stronger than expected readings on the job market. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.8 percent, a slight increase from last week,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Rates at these levels have not prompted much of a reaction in the refinance market, as most homeowners have mortgages with much lower rates. Purchase activity has been strong to start 2024 compared to the final quarter of 2023. However, activity is still weaker than a year ago because of low housing supply.”   

More housing and market news

Freddie Mac continued its longstanding support for low-income families, announcing that potential homebuyers earning 50% of area median income or less are eligible for a $2,500 credit to help with down payment and closing costs.

“Today’s announcement is a vital lifeline for would-be homeowners, as studies show that down payment and closing costs are among the largest barriers to homeownership for very low-income homebuyers,” said Sonu Mittal, SVP and Head of Single-Family Acquisitions at Freddie Mac. “Our commitment to supporting these families runs deep, as we have provided assistance to this population through various programs since 2018. We are pleased to now make this assistance more broadly available to borrowers through our Home Possible program.” 

In reaction to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report on employment in January, MBA SVP and Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said, “These trends align with the Q4 GDP report, which showed more momentum in the economy at the end of the year and now into January. However, they contradict the declining trend in job opening and hiring rates. And this news certainly runs contrary to the string of layoff announcements at many companies in recent weeks.”

He added, “A single data point should not change the direction of policy. However, we expect that the balance of incoming data will keep the Federal Reserve from cutting rates in March, and still anticipate that they will wait until the May meeting for a first cut. This certainly will depend on continuing declines in inflation between now and then.” 

According to the MBA, the mortgage delinquency rate for loans on one-to-four-unit properties increased to 3.88 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023. The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started remained unchanged.

Additional mortgage activity  

  • The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 35.4 percent of total applications from 34.2 percent the previous week.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.4 percent of total applications.
  • The FHA share of total applications decreased to 13.1 percent from 13.8 percent the week prior.
  • The VA share of total applications increased to 14.1 percent from 13.3 percent the week prior.
  • The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.4 percent from the week prior.

This week in mortgage rates

Rates barely move. Here’s how average fixed rates broke down:

  • 30-year fixed-rate loans: 6.64% (up from 6.63%)
  • 15-year fixed-rate loans: 5.9% (down from 5.94%)

Check back next week for the most up-to-date mortgage and housing news.


Feb 1 – Mortgage Rates Tick Down, Applications Decrease

On Thursday, February 1, 2024, Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.63 percent, down from last week when it averaged 6.69 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.09 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.94 percent, down from last week when it averaged 5.96 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.14 percent.

“Although affordability continues to impact homeownership, the combination of a solid economy, strong demographics and lower mortgage rates are setting the stage for a more robust housing market,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.

Khater elaborated, “Mortgage rates have been stable for nearly two months, but with continued deceleration in inflation we expect rates to decline further. The economy continues to outperform due to solid job and income growth, while household formation is increasing at rates above pre-pandemic levels. These favorable factors should provide strong fundamental support to the market in the months ahead.”

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mortgage applications decreased 7.2 percent from one week earlier. The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 6 percent compared with the previous week and was 20 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates changed little last week, with the 30-year fixed rate at 6.78 percent, which is close to where it has been for the past month but lower than the recent peak of 7.9 percent in October 2023,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Applications decreased compared to a holiday-adjusted week, driven by a decline in purchase applications that offset a slight increase in refinance activity. Low existing housing supply is limiting options for prospective buyers and is keeping home-price growth elevated, resulting in a one-two punch that continues to constrain home purchase activity. The average loan size for purchase applications has picked up in recent weeks to $444,100, the largest average loan size since May 2022.”

More housing and market news

According to the MBA’s Purchase Applications Payment Index (PAPI), mortgage application payments decreased 3.8 percent to $2,055 in December. “Homebuyer affordability improved for the second consecutive month in December as interest rates declined significantly from recent highs,” said Edward Seiler, MBA’s Associate Vice President, Housing Economics, and Executive Director, Research Institute for Housing America. “While the average median purchase application amount increased to $306,450, MBA expects that affordability conditions will continue to improve as mortgage rates fall further and as housing inventory continues to increase.”

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023. In reaction to the GPD fourth quarter report, MBA SVP and Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said, “Stronger economic growth will benefit the housing market, keeping demand robust. Moreover, today’s report also showed further reductions in inflation, which will enable the Federal Reserve to cut rates later this year — as they have been hinting.”

Additional mortgage activity  

  • The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 34.2 percent of total applications from 32.7 percent the previous week.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.6 percent of total applications.
  • The FHA share of total applications decreased to 13.8 percent from 14.1 percent the week prior.
  • The VA share of total applications decreased to 13.3 percent from 13.7 percent the week prior.
  • The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.4 percent from the week prior.

This week in mortgage rates

Rates decrease marginally. Here’s how average fixed rates broke down:

  • 30-year fixed-rate loans: 6.63% (down from 6.69%)
  • 15-year fixed-rate loans: 5.94% (down from 5.96%)

Check back next week for the most up-to-date mortgage and housing news.


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