Mortgage rates remained near all-time lows in the latest week as the Federal Reserve continues to hold borrowing costs low to spur on economic activity. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.20% with 0.37 in points for the week ending July 24. The MBA also reports that the Market Composite Index, a measure of total mortgage loan application volume fell 0.8%, the Purchase Index declined by 1.5% while the Refinance Index was near unchanged.
Signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes continued to increase in June after the big gains seen in May. The National Association of REALTORS© reports that Pending Home Sales rose by 16.6% in June from May and was up 6.3% annually. In addition, all four major regions of the country experienced gains. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist said, “Consumers are taking advantage of record-low mortgage rates resulting from the Federal Reserve’s maximum liquidity monetary policy.”
Homeownership rates increased in the latest quarterly reading as the sector continues to shine post-shutdown. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the homeownership rate rose to 67.9% in Q2 2020 from 65.3% in Q1 and up from 64.1% in Q2 2019. The rate of 67.9% is almost a 12-year high. The report did say that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), data collection operations were affected during Q2 2020. In-person interviews were suspended during the quarter and replaced with telephone interview attempts when contact information was available.