MBA Purchase Applications mba-2-20-table
The purchase index ended 6 straight weeks of decline with a 5.0 percent rise in the February 20 week. Year-on-year, however, the index is in negative ground at minus 2.0 percent. The refinance index keeps falling, down 8.0 percent in the latest week for the 3rd straight large decline. Rates rose in the latest week with the average 30-year mortgage for conforming loans ($417,000 or less) up 6 basis points to 3.99 percent.

New Home Sales
Sales of new homes in January, at a better-than-expected 481,000 annual pace, managed to hold onto December’s big surge when sales jumped 8.1 percent to 482,000 (revised). January’s strength is centered in what is by far the largest region, the South, where sales rose 2.2 percent. Sales slipped 0.8 percent in the West which is second, and a very distant second, in size to the South.

Price concessions may have helped sales as the median fell 2.6 percent to $294,000. The dip is minor and the year-on-year median is still up significantly at plus 9.1 percent, but it does underscore price weakness in Monday’s existing home sales report.