Mortgage applications on the rise

Mortgage applications are rebounding from a sluggish winter.

In a recently released report by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mortgage applications, including for both home purchasing and refinancing, rose 2.3 percent week over week for the week ending on April 17, largely due to new-home purchase applications.

MBA's seasonally adjusted index for loan requests on new home purchases rose 5 percent over the week before and are up 16 percent year over year. This is the fourth rise in the last five weeks and its highest level since June of 2013.

Over the same time period, refinancing applications only rose less than 1 percent. While up considerably year over year when interest rates were about 4.25 percent, relatively flat interest rates recently may account for the lack of motivation for homeowners to refinance.

The average interest rate for 30 year fixed-rate mortgages for $417,000 or less dropped from 3.87 percent to 3.83 percent, its lowest since January, and 80 percent loan-to-value loans dropped to 0.32 percent from 0.38 percent. The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage stayed at 3.03 percent.

Two additional reports were released alongside the MBA's, with all three indicating signs of a rebound after the harsh and lengthy winter. According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing homes climbed to 6.1 percent last month, the strongest month over month increase since December 2010 and the highest annual rate since September 2013. 

The other, the Federal Housing Finance Agency's home value index, showed housing prices improving in February, up 0.7 percent over January and 5.4 percent year over year.

Some analysts believe that rates could move even lower based on domestic and overseas bond markets. 

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