Two weeks ago, thanks to more promises from the federal government that it would buy more mortgage-backed securities, mortgage rates plunged to the point where the rate on the 30-year fixed looked like a teaser rate on a subprime circa 2006. It wasn’t quite the 4.5 percent that some housing gurus are calling for, but it was close enough.
One week later, no surprise, the weekly applications survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed a surge with volume up 48 percent from the week before and up 124.6 percent from the same week a year ago. Great news, right? Only if you’re into refis.
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 83 percent of total applications, from 77 percent the week before and 53 percent a year ago. So that means that the vast majority of people taking advantage of these low low rates are not actually buying a new home, just saving money on their current home. That’s helpful to those who might have been in danger of default, but it isn’t exactly a jumpstart to home buying.
So suffice it to say, it’s going to take more than low interest rates to get people buying enough homes to add more weight to any kind of recovery.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Low interest rates not stimulating home buying
Via Diana Olick: