Loan index falls again

April 04, 2004|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

A measure of U.S. mortgage applications fell for a second week after reaching an eight-month high at mid-month, an industry group said Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's index declined 2.1 percent to 1091.3 last week. The Washington group's index of applications for mortgages to buy homes dropped 1.1 percent to 443.8.

Mortgage rates that are close to last year's record low are bringing more homebuyers into the market and encouraging a new round of refinancing. Sales of new and existing homes rose last month, and the National Association of Realtors said last month that it may raise its forecast for this year's resales.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's measure of applications to refinance existing loans fell 2.6 percent to 4857.6 after reaching 4988.7 the week before, the highest since the week that ended July 18.

More Americans are planning to buy houses in the next six months, the Conference Board said Tuesday. The New York research group said its March index of intentions to buy a home rose to 4 percent from 3.8 percent the month before.

New-home sales unexpectedly rose in February to a 1.163 million annual rate, the Commerce Department said last month. Sales of existing homes, which represent 85 percent of the market, climbed to a 6.12 million rate in February, the National Association of Realtors said.

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