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Borrowers rush to refinance, as mortgage rates drop for a second week

A property for sale in Monterey Park, CaliforniaFrederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Mortgage rates fell for the second straight week last week, and that helped boost refinance demand for the first time in a while. As a result, total mortgage application volume rose 5.5% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association\’s seasonally adjusted index.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) decreased to 3.16% from 3.24%, with points remaining unchanged at 0.34 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. The rate is now down 14 basis points in the past two weeks, but still 18 basis points higher than the same week one year ago.

Refinance demand, which is highly sensitive to weekly rate moves, rose 7% last week from the previous week. It was, however, 28% lower year over year. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 63.5% of total applications from 61.9% the previous week.

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