May 16, 2018 / 11:10 AM / 2 months ago

U.S. mortgage refinancing hits lowest since Aug 2008: MBA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. loan applications to refinance an existing home fell to the lowest since the summer of 2008 as interest rates on some 30-year fixed-rate home loans hovered at the highest in over 4-1/2 years, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.

The Washington-based industry group said its seasonally adjusted measure on refinance applications declined 3.8 percent to 1,057.1 in the week ended May 11, which was the lowest since August 2008.

Interest rates on “conforming” 30-year mortgages, or loans with balances of $453,100 or less, averaged 4.77 percent, down 1 basis point from a week earlier. Two weeks earlier, they averaged 4.80 percent, which was the highest since September 2013, MBA said.

The share of refinancing requests of total applications shrank to 35.9 percent, marking its smallest level since August 2008 and less than 36.3 percent the prior week.

MBA’s seasonally adjusted index on applications to buy a home, which is seen as proxy on future home sales, fell 2.1 percent to 252.4 last week.

On Tuesday, the National Association of Home Builders said its barometer of its members’ sentiment rose to 70 points in May from a revised 68 in April.

The MBA’s measure on overall mortgage application activity after adjustments for seasonal factors decreased 2.7 percent to 376.5 in the week ended May 11, the lowest since the week of Feb. 16.

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Chris Reese

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