After setting more than a dozen record lows last year, mortgage rates began 2021 on an upward climb. That lit a fire under borrowers, who may be afraid of missing the last of the lowest rates.
Mortgage applications to refinance a home loan spiked 20% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. That was the highest level since last March. Volume was 93% higher than a year ago.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) increased to 2.88% from 2.86% last week for loans with a 20% down payment. That rate was 99 basis points higher than a year ago.
“Booming refinance activity in the first full week of 2021 caused mortgage applications to surge to their highest level since March 2020, despite most mortgage rates in the survey rising last week,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “The expectation of additional fiscal stimulus from the incoming administration, and the rollout of vaccines improving the outlook, drove Treasury yields and rates higher.”
Source: CNBC, Diana Olick