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The Week Ahead: Will Higher Rates Discourage Mortgage Applicants?

ratesMortgage interest rates have continued to decline to historical lows and have not motivated buyers to apply for a mortgage loan, but for the first time in two months, mortgage interest rates have moved up. Will this drive potential homebuyers further away from the housing market?

Freddie Mac reported in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.64 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending March 3, 2016. This rate is up from last week when it averaged 3.62 percent, but down from year ago when it averaged 3.75 percent.

On the other hand, mortgage applications fell 4.8 percent this week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). On an unadjusted basis, applications fell 7 percent.  Refinance applications decreased 7 percent from last week to 58.6 percent of total applications, falling to its lowest level since January 2016.  Purchase applications declined 1 percent from one week earlier, while the unadjusted purchase applications increased 14 percent compared with the previous week and was 27 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

Sean Becketti, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac said, "The market turbulence that kicked off the year subsided at the end of February, providing at least a temporary break in the flight to quality. Treasury yields approached their highest level in a month, boosting the 30-year mortgage 2 basis points this week to 3.64 percent. Despite this welcome breather, Fed officials have been highlighting the downside risks to the economic outlook, and the market expects the Fed to refrain from any further short-term rate increases for now."

HUD Continues to Promote “Prosperity Playbook”

As part of a five-community tour to promote HUD’s new “Prosperity Playbook,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, March 11. The Playbook is a compilation of online resources written for and by state and local decision makers that provides a resource to assist community leaders with thinking regionally to find solutions for providing affordable housing and economic opportunities in their respective communities.

HUD announced in mid-February that Castro would be appearing in five communities across the country (Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Minneapolis, which were the initial five communities to contribute to the Playbook) to promote the book.

“In too many communities across our great nation a child’s zip code determines how far they can go in life and what they will achieve,” Castro said. “Creating inclusive communities is not always popular and forces us to have difficult conversations about our nation’s most challenging unresolved issues of class, race and discrimination. Through these engagement sessions we hope to extract the best ideas from communities already doing great work, share these findings and lift up other communities in their efforts to increase mobility for our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Here is the lineup for the week:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer will be speaking at the National Association for Business Economics in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

MBA Mortgage Applications- 7:00 A.M. EST

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey

Friday, March 11, 2016

HUD Secretary Julián Castro travels to Atlanta, Georgia, to promote HUD’s “Prosperity Playbook”



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