Refinancing Simmers Down to Lukewarm Levels

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It’s official: The mortgage refinancing party is over, with one measure of refi application activity falling to its lowest level in more than a year. 

The refinancing index measured by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) has fallen nine out of the last 10 weeks, thanks to mortgage rates that have been trending upwards over the same time period. It’s now at a level not seen since February of 2020.

The data released Wednesday is a clear indication that homeowners keen to refinance this past winter when interest rates were at record lows have much less appetite for it now that rates have climbed, even though they’re still relatively cheap. The rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.27% as of April 9, according to MBA’s measure. While down 0.09 percentage points from the week before, the rate is still well above its record low of 2.85% in December.

“Many borrowers have either already refinanced at lower rates or are unwilling—or unable—to refinance at current rates,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a press release.

Mortgage applications for purchases have also fallen, especially on the more affordable end of the spectrum, the MBA said. In the latest monthly survey of mortgage purchase applications, the number of applications for loans under $150,000 was down 16.5% from a year before, and applications for loans between $150,000 and $300,000 were down 2% from the same time last year, compared to higher price brackets, which had all increased by at least 22%, according to the MBA.