Mortgage applications fall while rates retrench

A definitive rise in mortgage interest rates over the last 30 days is keeping borrowers at bay. When it comes to Loan application volume fell 3.2 percent last week from the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Volume is now skewing toward larger loans for more expensive homes and not smaller single family homes.

Refinance applications, which are the most rate-sensitive, decreased 5% from the previous week, seasonally they adjusted to the lowest level since early September 2015. They are still 4% higher compared with just one year ago, when interest rates were slightly higher. The refinance share of mortgage activity now stands at 58.7% of total applications.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 4.14% from 4.18%, with points increasing to 0.49 from 0.45 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

Currently the hope in the housing market now is that higher prices and regained home equity will tempt more sellers.

As inventory of homes for sale fell again in October, according to the National Association of Realtors. It usually rises this time of year. If the drops continue, competition will be fierce in the busier spring market, pushing prices even higher.

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