If no news is good news, then there is good news in the mortgage market. Mortgage application volume was unchanged last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index.
But volume was 15 percent lower than a year ago, when interest rates were more than 80 basis points lower.
Applications to refinance a home loan, which are highly rate-sensitive, had no reason to move and barely did, falling 0.1 percent for the week. Refinance volume has been weak all year, as interest rates moved sharply higher in January and are even higher now. Volume was 33 percent lower compared with the same week in 2017.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) decreased to 4.96 percent from 4.97 percent, with points increasing to 0.49 from 0.47 (including the origination fee) for loans with 20 percent down payments. That is just off the highest level in seven years.
"Rates were little changed last week, following the most recent FOMC meeting where the Fed announced another rate hike based on the health of the economy and job market as expected," said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. "Short term rates have been increasing but long term rates have held steady, which should not pose too much of a headwind to home purchase activity, especially given the potential demand from demographic factors."