Demand for mortgage loan applications fell 5.7 percent in the last week of February, according to a survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the industry group pointed the finger squarely at higher interest rates.
“The 30-year fixed rate increased to 6.71 percent last week, the highest rate since November 2022, which drove a 6 percent drop in applications," said Joel Kan, vice president and deputy chief economist at MBA, in a press release. After a brief revival in application activity in January when mortgage rates dropped down to 6.2 percent, there has now been three straight weeks of declines in applications as mortgage rates have jumped 50 basis points over the past month.”
The trend is putting downward pressure on both purchase and refinance applications, with the former down 44 percent from a year ago and the latter down 77 percent from a year ago.
Both indexes hit a 28-year low for the second consecutive week.
Kan added that new "data on inflation, employment, and economic activity have signaled that inflation may not be cooling as quickly as anticipated, which continues to put upward pressure on rates.”