Having slipped earlier this month, mortgage loan activity across the U.S. dropped 10 percent over the past week, with purchase loan activity dropping 8 percent and refinancing activity down 11 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

That being said purchase activity is still 7 percent higher than at the same time last year, but that’s down from a 15 percent year-over-year gain last week and a 17 percent year-over-year increase two weeks ago.

And on a seasonally adjusted, purchase activity dropped 12 percent over the past week with the spring selling/buying season about to get underway and the benchmark mortgage rate within 20 basis points (0.20 percentage point) of its all-time low.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by ST

    Even thought I am a beneficiary of the <0% real interest rate, I just don’t think this is the right policy, it is putting all of us on a pathway to MORE inequality and MORE financial instability.

    Stop the monthly bond purchase and give $14,000 to those who lost their jobs. I hope GOP can come up with some non-trump candidate in 2024.

    • Posted by soccermom

      It’s a good point about wealth inequality. If rates double over the next three years:

      1. People with low rate mortgages will have an incentive to stay put. Home sale turnover will decrease for a time.

      2. Assuming some stickiness of prices on the way down, with higher rates houses will become less affordable to new entrants (buyers).

      These trends will further expand the gulf between haves and have nots, it seems.

      All of this has me wondering if the only thing worse for wealth inequality than 0% interest rates is 6% interest rates?

      • Posted by heynonnynonny

        Wealth inequality isn’t really about new home buyers. The real have-nots don’t have credit let alone a downpayment.

        • Posted by soccermom

          Actually it is about new home buyers. For most Americans, accrued home equity through appreciation and debt pay down is the primary source of wealth.

          • Posted by heynonnynonny

            The “give everybody a mortgage” approach didn’t go so well in the 2000s. Perhaps there is a better way to help the have-nots.

    • Posted by soccermom

      Also, jobs are going un filled now. Many make more with boosted benefits than through employment. That’s a real thing and not a Republican imaginary issue.

      No one wants to change bedpans but bedpans need to get changed.

      • Posted by Neighborhood Character

        Considering there’s still a raging pandemic going on right now that’s disproportionately affecting those with the least means, having them make more from boosted benefits _is the point_ so that they don’t have to _die_ from needing to “change bedpans”.

        Unfilled jobs means the incentives are working as intended, and lives are being saved.

        • Posted by soccermom

          Sure. But I got a bank card in the mail with $3k on it without asking. I bought stocks. What sense does that make?

          Our family’s pre school can’t hire teachers who were happy to work part time before, not because they are afraid of the workplace, but because they make more on unemployment. This is not isolated nor a reflection of lives being saved. It’s people following natural incentives.

          And yes, the bedpans still need changing.

          • Posted by Neighborhood Character

            Getting assistance without asking for it is more a reflection of the breakneck speed it was implemented than the program itself. For every family that got assistance without needing it, many more did and were kept afloat by it.

            Once again, it doesn’t matter if workers are truly afraid of the pandemic or not, the point of the program is to slow the spread of the pandemic by _incentivizing people to stay home_. Even if the workers themselves don’t succumb to the virus, they can spread it to those that are vulnerable, so doing everything possible to slow the spread is still good for society.

            I truly empathize with what parents and their kids are going through right now, but I hope we can agree that a part time gig isn’t worth dying for, directly or indirectly.

            The tragedy here is the overall federal response that has prolonged the situation greatly, not the workers making a bit more from unemployment.

          • Posted by soccermom

            I have never seen pandemic assistance framed as intentionally paying people to stay home. That isn’t the point. The point is to keep people fed and housed while they can’t work.

            Also, I don’t really see how the federal government has prolonged the situation. We committed to buying millions of doses of vaccines and waited for the scientists to get to it. There was no better way to get a tested vaccine into production more quickly from the federal government.

  2. Posted by Kyle

    $40 to $450 a week is the range for unemployment benefit and with the $300 federal boost , you’re looking at $340 – $750 a week or $1,360 – 3,000 per month. Unemployment benefit is taxable at the federal level too.

    You can work for a bit of income and still collect unemployment. Of course, you need to be aware of it but also need to stay under the limit in order to collect benefit + federal boost.

    With new stimulus, you’re potentially looking at $100 more per week. It seems like there are working. My grocery stores all seem well stocked. My Amazon packages are arriving on time. These are low end work but people are working.

    I don’t know what the right balance between staying home to collect or going back to work but just wanted to share some numbers.

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