U.S. mortgage application demand skidded last week to an eight-year low, driven by a nearly 30 percent slump in demand to refinance home loans as borrowing costs rose, a trade group said on Wednesday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted mortgage applications index, which includes both purchase and refinance loans, slid 20.3 percent to 379.9 in the week ended Oct. 31, the weakest reading since December 2000.
Requests for applications to buy homes as well as refinance mortgages have been swinging dramatically since early September as chaos swept over global financial markets.
Government interventions aimed at slicing mortgage costs have yet to take hold.
Average 30-year mortgage rates increased by 0.21 percentage point to 6.47 percent last week, matching the level of the week ended Oct. 10.
That fixed home loan rate is edging closer to this year's peak of 6.59 percent reached during the summer, well above the 2008 low of 5.49 percent in January, according to the trade group.
There is little reason to expect housing is in the midst of a turnaround with 30-year fixed mortgage rates at the upper end of a six-year range, unemployment at a five-year high and rising, and an excess supply of unsold homes pressing prices lower, analysts said.