U.S. mortgage applications decline with a drop in refinancing – MBA

FILE PHOTO: Real estate signs advertise new homes for sale in multiple new developments in York County, South Carolina

By Evan Sully

(Reuters) – U.S. applications for home mortgages declined last week as refinancing dropped to its lowest level since February 2020 with fewer homeowners able to take advantage of lower rates during a holiday-shortened week.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said on Wednesday its seasonally adjusted market index fell 3.1% in the week ending June 4 from a week earlier. This reflected a 5.1% decline in applications for refinancing and was 27% lower than the same week one year ago.

The purchase index increased 0.3% from a week earlier. The week’s data included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.

“Home-price growth continues to accelerate, driven by favorable demographics, the recovering job market and economy, and housing demand far outpacing supply,” Joel Kan, an economist at the MBA, said in a statement.

Surging home prices and limited supply has put a lid on home sales recently, and a record-low percentage of U.S. consumers believe now is a good time to purchase a home.

The average contract interest rate for traditional 30-year mortgages decreased to 3.15% last week from 3.17% the prior week.

(Reporting by Evan Sully; Editing by Chris Reese)