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Mortgage applications flag on fewer refinances

Refinance activity posted one of the weakest readings in 20 years last week and home-purchase mortgage applications also lagged last year’s pace, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported.

For the week ending on June 29, MBA’s composite index decreased by 50 basis points seasonally adjusted compared to the prior week. This was the second consecutive weekly decline in applications.  

"Financial market volatility in response to continued worries about trade resulted in both lower mortgage rates and a drop in applications last week," MBA Chief Economist Mike Frantantoni said. "The refinance index dropped below 1000 again last week, one of the weakest readings in the last 20 years."

MBA’s refinance index declined by 2 percent over the week, decreasing the refinance share of applications by 40 basis points to 37.2 percent of the overall applications. Home purchases, on an adjusted basis, rose by 1 percent compared to the prior week, but lagged last year's pace by 1 percent. 

On the home-purchase side, Fratantoni said there was a decline in applications for conventional loans. "A shortage of inventory remains a significant constraint, but it is interesting to note that applications for government purchase loans fared better on the week, indicating that first-time buyers remain in the market," Fratantoni said.


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