New Mortgage Rules Soften Loan Demand

The rate of mortgage applications has been volatile in recent weeks: The latest numbers show applications dipped 27.6 percent week-over-week on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending Oct. 9, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports. But the dip follows a 25.5 percent jump the week prior – which was just ahead of new mortgage disclosure rules that took effect on Oct. 3. Some lenders were reportedly upping the pace of applications to get ahead of the launch of the “Know Before You Owe Mortgage” initiative, which some were concerned would slow the process.

“The prior week’s results evidently pulled forward much of the volume that would have more naturally taken place into this week,” says Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist. “Purchase volume for the week was below last year’s pace, the first year-over-year decrease since February 2015, while refinance volume dropped sharply even with little change in mortgage rates.”

Refinance applications dropped 23 percent week-to-week, while applications for home purchases plunged 34 percent. Purchase applications are now one percent below the same week last year.

“Purchase loans are likely to be more impacted by the regulatory change, as the closing dates tend to be more sensitive than those for refinance transactions,” Fratantoni says.

MBA reports the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged last week at 3.99 percent.

“Whether we look at TRID implementation likely boosting purchase applications or the impressive mortgage rate rally obviously juicing refinance demand, we have abrupt reversals in both of those things this past week,” Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily, told CNBC. “In other words, rates erased the gains and the TRID deadline has passed. Back to reality.”

Source: “Mortgage Volume Gives Back Big Gains, Down 28%,” (Oct. 14, 2015)

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