The mayhem caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine is helping drive down interest rates … for the time being … and this is helping push down mortgage rates and increase mortgage applications.
Mortgage applications increased 8.5 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 4, 2022.
The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 9 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 11 percent compared with the previous week and was 7 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
The Refinance Index increased 9 percent from the previous week and was 50 percent lower than the same week one year ago. Diane Olick at CNBC has the hilarious headline “Brief drop in mortgage rates sparks mini refinance boom.” The slight rise in refi applications from the previous week is more of a firecracker going off than a boom given that refi apps are still down 50% from the same week last year.
Bear in mind that the US Treasury 10-year yield is up since the MBA’s reporting week ended on March 4, 2022. So, look for Olick’s mini-refi boom to end as quickly as it started.
Here is the rest of the MBA story.
The MBA Mortgage Purchase applications index typically peaks in mid-to-late April, so we still have another month (seasonality) until purchase applications begin declining again.
The US Treasury 10Y-2Y curve continues to flatten and is the worst curve recovery in modern history.
The general rise in US mortgage rates is more closely tied to expectations of Fed rate increases than Fed Agency MBS holdings.
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