The number of mortgage applications filed last week fell to the lowest level in more than three years, more evidence the U.S. housing market is stumbling.
The Mortgage Bankers Association's index of applications to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage declined 6.8 percent to 554.1 last week, from 594.6 a week earlier. The gauge is the lowest since 554.9 in the week ended June 7, 2002.
Higher mortgage rates are limiting both housing demand and the desire to refinance existing loans, a source of cash for consumers during the past few years. Home sales are forecast to decline in 2006 after a record this year, which economists said will provide less fuel for the economy.
Ouch. The mounting evidence is rapidly turning greed into fear. The Lereah's of this world are changing their tune. One more nail in the coffin.