Mortgage apps down as rates increase

With rates on the increase – the 30-year rate is around 4.6 percent, according to SocketSite – U.S. mortgage applications have dropped 10 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, adjustable-rate activity is on the increase, jumping to 8.1 percent. That’s the highest level since July 2008.

So what’s going on here?

As SocketSite reported earlier this month as well as in November, Fed talk of tapering its bond purchase program seems to have caused mortgage rates to inch back up. Since that chatter began, rates for a conforming 30-year mortgage have veered within 12 basis points of the 4.58 percent two-year high that we saw this past August.

In late November/early December of last year, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.34 percent, just to give a little perspective. SocketSite reports that Wells Fargo is currently hawking a rate of 4.125 percent for these loans, discounted half a percent from the 4.625 percent rate we’re seeing for both regular conforming and super conforming loans over $417,000.

However, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Dec. 6 indicates that mortgage applications were up 1 percent from a week earlier, with the Refinance Index up 2 percent from the previous week and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index up 1 percent from the previous week.

It’s a game of follow the figures, folks. If you want the real picture, though, give me a call. I’ll walk you through it.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email

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