More Homebuyers Buying Homes

March 15, 2012

Over the last few months, each time Chicago Real Estate Forum has written about an increase in the Mortgage Index, it has been the result of a boost in refinancing, not home buying.

Not anymore.

Arrows Up and DownMortgage applications decreased 2.4 percent for the week ending March 9, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

The decrease is a result of less homeowners refinancing their mortgages, despite record-low mortgage rates. The Refinance Index declined 4.1 percent to its lowest level since January 6.

The good news is in the Purchase Index, which increased 4.4 percent to its highest level since January 13. This is the third week in a row that more U.S. home buyers applied for mortgages.

The rise in demand coincided with data released last week that showed U.S. employers hired more than 200,000 workers in February for the third straight month.

“Applications for home purchase increased again last week, coinciding with another strong job market report. Purchase applications are now almost 12 percent above the level one month ago, even after adjusting for typical seasonal patterns,”  said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics.

“However, this level of purchase activity, adjusted or unadjusted, was essentially unchanged when compared to the same time last year. Purchase activity remains subdued and within the narrow range we have seen since the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit in 2010.”

Categories: Mortgages

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