Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mortgage applications surge

Check out the activity in the home loan market in the week ended March 21: Purchases up 10.6% and Refinances up 82.2%. That's the biggest surge in refis in any weak going back seven years, and a decent pop in purchases. It appears many borrowers saw the Fed cutting rates and jumped at the opportunity to refi into fixed-rate loans -- fixed rate apps jumped 54.7% while ARM apps fell 28.9%. As a matter of fact, ARMs captured a paltry 3.8% of total loan app share -- the lowest going all the way back to March 22, 1990.

The key questions: Can this momentum be sustained? And are many of these loan applications converting into approvals, or are tighter standards resulting in a higher fallout rate? Regardless, the figures show the Fed was able to impact mortgage demand for the first time in a while.


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