Despite recent data showing weak home sales for January, a new report shows home buyers may edge back into the market in March.
Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending February 20th from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). They are still 2 percent lower than the same week a year ago. The survey includes an adjustment for the President's Day holiday.
This increase came despite slightly higher mortgage interest rates. The same was not true for refinance applications. They fell 8 percent from the previous week, driving total mortgage application volume down 3.5 percent. Refinance volume has been falling steadily for the past several weeks, as rates rose to their highest level since the beginning of 2015.
"Refinance application volume fell to its lowest level this year as mortgage rates inched towards 4 percent. The one exception to this trend was VA refinance volume, which increased 27 percent last week, as certain lenders refocused on VA production. The VA share of total applications increased to 9.6 percent from 8 percent the week prior as a result," said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the MBA.