Mortgage Market Weekly Update: November 5 - 9, 2012

by: Julie Young

The re-election of President Barack Obama had little effect on mortgage market rates this week, which remained relatively unchanged. In a post-election statement, mortgage market officials applauded the actions taken by the Obama administration to revitalize the mortgage market and called for cooperative government efforts to continue progress toward a recovered U.S. economy.

Mortgage market rates continued to settle in at current levels during the November 9 week. The 30-year average fixed-rate mortgage added 1 basis point to end the week at 3.40 percent, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The 15-year average fixed-rate mortgage also saw little change, falling 1 basis point to 2.69 percent.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey was down slightly for the week as potential homebuyers awaited election results and application activity declined due to weather effects from Hurricane Sandy.

The MBA's Market Composite Index recorded a 5 percent decline in weekly mortgage application activity. The Refinance Index also decreased, falling 5 percent. Purchase activity was also down, reporting a seasonally adjusted decline of 5 percent in the number of home purchases closed.

Home prices were the news focus for the week as CoreLogic and the National Association of Realtors released reports on improving housing valuations.

CoreLogic's September Home Price Index stated a 5 percent increase in home prices on an annual basis. The improvement represented the greatest year-over-year increase since July 2006. CoreLogic's September index report also predicted a 5.7 percent year-over-year increase to occur in October based on data from its Pending Home Price Index.

Metro area home prices also showed individual gains, according to a third-quarter National Association of Realtors report. Eighty-one percent of the 149 metro areas surveyed, reported increased median existing single-family home prices.

The median existing-home price level for all metro areas increased 7.6 percent year-over-year, nearly mirroring gains seen in 2006 when the first quarter recorded a 9.4 percent year-over-year improvement.

Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, attributed third quarter 2012 gains to continued decreases in housing inventory, with the third-quarter report citing 2.32 million existing-homes for sale compared with 2.90 million at the end of the third quarter last year.

NAR's quarterly metropolitan area report, also found the national median family income in the third quarter to be $61,700, far exceeding the amount needed to purchase a home at $40,900.

Overall, decreasing inventory levels appear to be pushing prices up while greater national median incomes and lower mortgage borrowing rates are keeping home affordability high. All these factors signify positive progress toward further recovery in the housing market.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.