U.S. housing recovery strong despite stock market

NEW YORK – Sept. 8, 2015 – A number of U.S. homeowners have been capitalizing on the recent stock market turmoil: For the week ended Aug. 28, mortgage applications ticked up 11.3 percent versus a week earlier, according to the latest Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) report.

Refinances soared 17 percent to hit their highest level since April.

“You had some borrowers looking to refinance who really took advantage of the short availability of very low rates,” says Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni. “You had a number of people following the market very closely.”

The stock shake-up triggered by the Chinese economic slowdown resulted in moments of low interest rates on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes – a key benchmark for the mortgage-lending sector. Analysts, though, warn that the surge in home-loan activity tied to a particularly volatile period in the stock market will likely not last, especially with the Federal Reserve preparing to hike interest rates sometime later this year.

Nevertheless, many economists insist that a steadier trend in the housing recovery is underway.

“We do expect that improvement in the housing market to continue,” Fratantoni says. “Job growth and declining unemployment rate and wage growth – those are really the factors that we focus on.”

Source: International Business Times (09/02/15) Dunn, Catherine

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