The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released their national mortgage application data for the week of January 17th, and the report showed that overall mortgage volume increased by 8.1%. When digging deeper, they showed that purchase applications were up 0.1% and were up a large 16% year over year. This is all in the face of low inventory levels. Housing inventory is currently 23% lower from where it was this time last year. Imagine how many more purchases there might have been if the housing inventory level was just flat! Refinances were also up, increasing by 11% and up 59% compared to last year. The refinance portion of all mortgage transactions increased from 70.7% to 71.4%. Within their report they also analyze average interest rates, showing that rates are about 3/4th of a percent lower than where they were the same week last year. Interestingly, in the prior months of these MBA reports, we have seen that interest rates were about 1% lower (with a fraction of a discount point). If this trend continues, we may be seeing the very early beginnings of interest rates ticking slightly higher.
Overall, this was a very strong report showing the resiliency of the purchase market and how homeowners are still taking advantage of historically low interest rates by refinancing. As homes continue to appreciate in value and as rates potentially tick slightly higher, this may be the best time to take advantage of current market conditions and speak with your mortgage specialist to help breakdown the numbers.