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Mortgage Applications, Home Prices on the Rise

Phil Hall
May 24, 2017
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 19 found the Market Composite Index up by 4.4 percent

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 19 found the Market Composite Index up by 4.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and up three percent on an unadjusted basis. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index dipped by one percent from one week earlier, while the unadjusted Purchase Index was down by two percent compared with the previous week—although it was three percent higher than the same week one year ago. Instead, the upward mobility was fueled by the Refinance Index, which shot up by 11 percent from the previous week to its highest level since March. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 43.9 percent of total applications from 41.1 percent the previous week.
Among the federal programs, the FHA share of total applications increased to 10.8 percent from 10.6 percent the week prior while the VA share of total applications decreased to 10.5 percent from 10.7 percent the week prior and the USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.8 percent.
Separately, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported house prices rose 1.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017. On a year-over-year measurement, house prices rose six percent during the first quarter.
On a year-over-year basis, home prices rose in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Of the nine census divisions, the Pacific division saw the greatest upward movement with a two percent quarterly increase and a 7.7 percent increase since the first quarter of last year.
"The steep, multi-year rise in U.S. home prices continued in the first quarter," said FHFA Deputy Chief Economist Andrew Leventis. "Mortgage rates during the quarter remained slightly elevated relative to most of last year, but demand for homes remained very strong. With housing inventories still languishing at extremely low levels, the strong demand led to another exceptionally large quarterly price increase."

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