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Mortgage Purchase Applications Slow, Even as Rates Fall


Mortgage Purchase Applications Slow, Even as Rates Fall

Mortgage rates dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point at the start of June, but that gradual improvement in housing affordability wasn't enough to lure buyers back to the for-sale market

June 8, 2023
Approved stamp on mortgage application with house keys
Image: Fabio Balbi / stock.adobe.com

For the week ending June 2, mortgage applications fell 1.4% from the prior week despite mortgage rates dropping to 6.81% from 6.91% over the same period. After more than a year of consistent increases by the Federal Reserve, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is expected to pause hikes at its upcoming meeting next week, depending on the inflation reading that same day.

Even as rates soften, a lack of for-sale inventory continues to chip away at purchasing power, leading to a dip in purchase applications and refinancing applications at the start of June, HousingWire reports.

“Mortgage rates declined last week from a recent high, but total application activity slipped for the fourth straight week,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist. “Overall applications were more than 30% lower than a year ago, as borrowers continue to grapple with the higher rate environment.”

“Purchase activity is constrained by reduced purchasing power from higher rates and the ongoing lack of for-sale inventory in the market, while there continues to be very little rate incentive for refinance borrowers,” said Joel Kan.

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