The 30-year fixed mortgage rate trended upward last week, as did all three major adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMS). The only key mortgage rate category heading south was the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Since June, lower week-to-week mortgage rates have been a constant. It’s only natural for mortgage shoppers to wonder if this week’s uptick is an anomaly, or is a sign of things to come.
Nobody knows for sure, but rates will one day set on a sustained upward path. However, this does not look like that time.
Certainly, there was no solid economic news that would point to an imminent economic recovery, and a subsequent era of higher mortgage rates.
There was a hint of good news. Residential mortgage applications did crawl up last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA’s benchmark Purchase Index rose by 6.3% in the week ending Sept. 8, but the MBA is quick to note that, even with the week-to-week rise in mortgage applications, the home mortgage application market still remains 39% below the market activity registered for the first week in September 2009.
In addition, the MBA reports that the refinancing market (thanks to lower rates) is growing stronger.
“Purchase applications increased last week, reaching the highest level since the end of May. However, purchase activity remains well below levels seen prior to the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit, and is almost 40% below the level recorded one year ago,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics. “On the other hand, refinance volume dropped last week for the first time in six weeks, but the level of applications to refinance remains close to recent highs, as historically low mortgage rates continue to draw borrowers into the market.”