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Applications for mortgages, refinancing spike amid low interest rates

Matt Richardson

Amid the lowest mortgage rates in almost two years, overall mortgage applications swelled last week by nearly 27 percent, according to data released Wednesday.

Applications to refinance homes specifically experienced a huge jump of 47 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). That is the highest level since 2016.

“Mortgage rates for all loan types fell by a sizeable margin for the second straight week, pulled down by trade tensions with China and Mexico, the financial markets reacting to more bearish communication from several Fed officials, and weaker than expected hiring in May,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Despite the less positive outlook, both purchase and refinance applications surged, driven mainly by these lower rates.”

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.82 percent on Thursday with an average 0.6 point for the week ending June 13, 2019. That's unchanged from last week and remains the lowest since September 2017. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate-mortgage averaged 4.62 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.26 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.28 percent.

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“Mortgage rates were mostly unchanged from last week due to easing of trade tensions with Mexico which helped stabilize markets," Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said Thursday. "These historically low rates should provide continued opportunities for current homeowners to refinance their mortgages – which combined with new homebuyer activity – will help sustain the momentum in the housing market in 2019.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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