Industry NewsMortgage

Loan demand up as rates ease

Deadline for claiming homebuyer tax credit approaching

Demand for mortgages picked up a seasonally adjusted 13.6 percent from the week before as mortgage rates eased during the week ending April 16, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today in releasing the results of its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 5.04 percent from 5.17 percent for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans. Although points increased to 0.98 from 0.91 (including the origination fee), the effective rate still decreased from last week.Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, said mortgage rates followed Treasury rates down last week, helping boost refinance applications.Purchase applications continued to increase coming out of the Easter holiday, as the window for claiming the homebuyer tax credit approaches, Fratantoni said. Buyers must be under contract before May 1 and close before July 1 to claim the credit (see story).An MBA index measuring demand for ...