Morning Briefing: Refinance loans drive mortgage demand

by Steve Randall07 Jul 2016
Refinance loans drive mortgage demand
A surge in demand for refinance mortgages pushed applications up by double figures last week.

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association’s Market Composite Index was up 14.2 per cent on a seasonally-adjusted basis in the week ending July 1 and 14 per cent per cent on an unadjusted basis.

The refinance index was up 21 per cent while the purchase index edged 4 per cent higher on a seasonally adjusted basis. Refinance mortgages made up 61.6 per cent of all applications, the highest level since February 2016. 

"Interest rates continued to drop last week as markets assessed the impact of Brexit, downgrading the likelihood of additional rate hikes by the Fed, and mortgage rates for 30-year conforming loans dropped to their lowest level in over 3 years," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's Chief Economist.  "In response, refinance application volume jumped almost 21 percent last week to its highest level since January 2015."
Chinese top foreign buyers of US homes but $ are down
New data from the National Association of Realtors shows that there has been a slight decrease in international buyers of US real estate in the past year. This is due to a stronger US dollar and challenging economic conditions in some countries.

However, the Chinese are flooding to the US property market as the number 1 foreign investors and in dollar terms they exceed the rest of the top 5 combined.

Foreign buyers snapped up $102.6 billion of US residential property between April 2015 and March 2016; that’s down 1.3 per cent from a year earlier and represents 2.8 per cent of all homes sold.
The Chinese bought $27.3 billion worth of homes, down slightly from the previous year but triple the dollar volume of Canadian buyers.

“Although China’s currency modestly weakened versus the U.S. dollar in the past year, it’s much stronger than it was 5 to 10 years ago, thereby making U.S. properties still appear reasonably affordable over a longer time span,” noted NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Slightly over half of all foreign buyers purchased property in Florida (22 per cent), California (15 per cent), Texas (10 per cent), Arizona or New York (each at 4 per cent).
Baseball ace Johnny Cueto lists Cincinnati home
Former Cincinnati Reds star Johnny Cueto is selling his home in the city following his move to the San Francisco Giants via the Kansas City Royals.

Cueto’s 5-bedroom home in Cincinnati is listed by Heather Herr who says the home “caters to every type of buyer looking for a home with privacy, beautiful amenities, and a convenient location.”
The home at 10081 Pond Woods Lane is listed at $425,000 and includes “lush grounds and fabulous in-ground pool.”



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