Mortgages, refinance applications up as interest rates continue to fall

Thirty-year rates decline for over a month.

Updated: February 8, 2023 - 11:14am

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The number of applications for both mortgages and mortgage refinancing are both markedly up as interest rates continue to fall from the dizzying high to which they skyrocketed over the past year .

Straight mortgage applications were up over 7% week-over-week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a Wednesday report. The "Refinance Index," meanwhile, "increased 18 percent from the previous week," the MBA said. 

MBA Deputy Chief Economist Joel Kan noted that "overall applications remained 58 percent lower than a year ago" due to sharply higher interest rates, but "this week’s results are a step in the right direction."

"Purchase activity that was put on hold last year due to the quick runup in rates is gradually coming back as rates ease and housing demand remains strong," Kan said. 

Rates skyrocketed in recent months due to aggressive Federal Reserve efforts to raise interest levels in the hopes of tamping down the sky-high inflation that walloped much of the U.S. economy in 2021 and 2022.

Thirty-year fixed rates at the beginning of February were "down nearly a full point from November," Freddie Mac said earlier this month.