The lowest mortgage rates in a month did little to drive new loan applications last week.
Total mortgage application volume was basically flat, rising 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Applications, however, were 14 percent lower from one year ago, a far more telling indication of the state of the market. Both refinances and home sales have pulled back as rates rise and uncertainty over the new administration takes a bite out of consumer confidence in housing.
Applications to refinance a home loan have been falling dramatically since the presidential election, when interest rates took off. Last week was different. Refinance volume rose 7 percent for the week, clearly spurred by the announcement from outgoing HUD Secretary Julian Castro that the FHA would lower its annual insurance premium by 25 basis points. The FHA share of total applications increased to 13.1 percent from 11.7 percent during the prior week.