Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Falling Mortgage Rates and Refi Mini-Boom

by Calculated Risk on 7/07/2010 09:50:00 AM

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported this morning that refinance activity increased again:

The Refinance Index increased 9.2 percent from the previous week and is the highest Refinance Index observed in the survey since the week ending May 15, 2009.
...
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 78.7 percent of total applications from 76.8 percent the previous week, which is the highest refinance share observed in the survey since April 2009.
Refinance Activity and Interest Rates Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the monthly MBA refinance index (Blue) and mortgage rates from the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey - and the Fed Funds target rate since Jan 1990.

Even with the recent decline in mortgage rates, refinance activity is still well below the peak in 2009. The reason is the 30 year mortgage rate is only slightly below the rates of April and May 2010 (4.6% now compared to just over 4.8% in 2009), so for those who refinanced last year there isn't much incentive to refinance now (considering the cost to refinance).

Of course many homeowners can't refinance because they owe more than their homes are worth, or their incomes have declined and they can't qualify.