United States Mortgage applications fall despite low rates as trade war fears grow
Americans aren’t seeking mortgages in big numbers despite low borrowing costs and moderating price gains.
Mortgage applications fell 3.3% from last week despite mortgage rates that remained low, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
Applications to buy a home dipped 1%, the the third straight weekly decline, but they were still 7% higher than a year ago, when mortgage rates were higher. Applications to refinance a mortgage dropped 6%.
The 30-year fixed rate mortgage held steady at 4.33%, its lowest level since January 2018.
“Concerns over European economic growth and ongoing uncertainty about a trade war with China were some of the main factors that kept mortgage rates low last week.” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting.
Meanwhile, price increases have eased.The median existing-home price was $267,399 last month, up 3.6% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. Last year, annual price gains were ranging from 5% to 6%.
The trade war jitters, however, may have be keeping some potential home buyers on the sidelines.
“It is possible that the trade dispute is causing potential homeowners to hold off on buying, with the fear that further escalation – or the lack of resolution – may have adverse impacts on the economy and housing market.” Kan added.
A shortage of less expensive, entry-level homes also has been chilling sales.