Mortgage activity declines despite positive homeownership sentiment

Mortgage application activity declined during the week ending March 23, however, a recent survey found that despite the decrease, Americans still hold the prospect of owning a home in high regard.

Mortgage application activity declined during the week ending March 23, however, a recent survey found that despite the decrease, Americans still hold the prospect of owning a home in high regard.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Application Activity, there was a 2.7 percent fall in mortgage requests from the previous week. The report noted that this is a result of a significant decline in refinancing requests. This share has now trended lower for six consecutive weeks.

Mortgage records show that refinancing share of mortgage applications fell to just 71.9 percent from 73.4 percent a week earlier. This is the smallest the share has been since July 2011. In addition, this decrease is thought to be tied to a drop of 12 percent in government refinancing activity through programs such as the Home Affordable Refinance Program and Home Affordable Modification Program.

Meanwhile, the industry group found that the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a conforming loan balance rose to 4.23 from 4.19 percent the previous week, while the rate for a 30-year FRM jumbo loan edged higher to 3.5 percent.     

However, even though fewer people submitted mortgage request during the week, a recent survey from Fannie Mae found that the concept a owning a home was still alive and well as part of the American Dream.

The survey found that during the fourth quarter of 2011, two-thirds of current renters hope to take advantage of bargain home prices and affordable mortgage rates to become homeowners in the near future.

"In spite of the impact of the housing crisis on home values and homeownership rates across the country, Americans by and large still hope to become homeowners," said Fannie Mae vice president and chief economist Doug Duncan. "Some may not be financially positioned to own a home in the near future, but Americans may begin to revisit that aspiration as employment and household balance sheets improve over the coming years."

Many consumers still feel discouraged from purchasing properties due to stricter lending standards and a growing need for more substantial down payments, but those who are actively looking revealed that school districts and the safety of a neighborhood continue to be primary concerns.



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